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I HE march of education must sooner or later trample 
down and stamp out anything like distinctive pro- 
vincial dialect in England; but when this result 
shall have been effected, much that is really valuable 
will be lost to our language, unless an effort is promptly made to 
collect and record words which, together with the ideas which 
first rendered them necessary, are rapidly falling into disuse. 

Although in all such collections there will be a large pro- 
portion of words and phrases which are mere curiosities of 
expression, utterly useless to the science of language, yet there 
will remain a considerable number well worthy of being retained, 
and if possible revived. 

Every year new words are being imported into the JEnglish 
language and gradually coming into general use amongst us. 
Too many of these are selected from the ghastly compounds of 
illiterate advertizers, and many more are of the most offensive 
type of slang the sweepings of the music-hall, the leavings of 
the prize-ring and the worst specimens of Americanisms, selected 
to the exclusion of many good old English words which are to 
this day more frequently used in the United States of America 
than in our own country. 

The English Dialect Society, which has lately been formed, 
will soon become the centre of a very valuable influence, by 
encouraging and uniting many word-collectors who have been 
quietly working for some time past in different parts of the 
country, and by giving a right direction to their labours. 

ifc Preface. 

To the Rev. W. W. Skeat, as the representative of that 
Society, I owe more than I am able to express for the guidance 
that he has given me, and the pains that he has taken to render 
this work as free as possible from imperfections. Without his 
assistance I could never have presented it to the reader in the 
form it now assumes. 

Professor Bosworth also, although busily engaged (in his 
8yth year) in bringing out a new quarto Anglo-Saxon dictionary, 
found time to encourage me in my work, and set me in the right 
track by correcting the first pages of my proof. To him and many 
others my best thanks are due. Such a work could never have 
been done single-handed, and volunteers have come forward on 
all sides to help me. 

The Rev. W. de St. Croix, late editor of the Sussex Archaeo- 
logical Society's Collections, has for many years given me valuable 
assistance. Miss Bessie C. Curteis, of Leasam, near Rye, has con- 
tributed at least 200 words, with conversational illustrations and 
legends from the East Sussex district. The Rev. J. C. Egerton, of 
Burwash, has also placed at my disposal his collection of upwards 
of 100 words in use in his section of the county; and when I add 
that the Rev. C. Swainson has helped me in my folk-lore, and 
Mr. James Britten, of the British Museum, has corrected my 
botanical definitions, the reader will understand how much kindly 
effort has been made to render my work successful, and how little 
its success (if it shall be attained) is due to myself. 



















almost every establishment in the country there is to be 
found some old groom, or gardener, bailiff, or factotum, 
whose odd expressions and quaint sayings and appa- 
rently outlandish words afford a never-failing source 
of amusement to the older as well as to the younger members of 
the household, who are not aware that many of the words and 
expressions which raise the laugh are purer specimens of the 
English language than the words which are used to tell the story 
in which they are introduced. 

Every schoolboy home for the holidays at Christmas knows 
that the London cabman who drives him to the Theatre 
accentuates the word much more classically than the young 
gentleman who sits inside, who, if he had the audacity to 
pronounce Theatron with a short a in his next construe at 
school, would send a shudder through the Form amid which he 
would soon find himself in a lower place. So it is with our 
Sussex words; they sound strange to ears that are not accustomed 
to them ; and by some persons they may be supposed to be mere 
slang expressions, not worthy of attention; but when they are 
examined, many of them will be found to be derived from the 
purest sources of our language, and to contain in themselves a 
clear reflection of the history of the county in which they are 

Every page of this dictionary will show how distinctly the 
British, Roman, Saxon and Norman elements are to be traced in 
the words in every day use among our labouring people, who 
retain among them many of the oldest forms of old words which 

2 The Sussex Dialed. 

although they have long ago become obsolete among their 
superiors in education, are nevertheless still worthy of our 
respect and attention. Like the old coins which he so often 
turns up with his plough, the words of the Sussex labourer bear 
a clear stamp of days long past and gone and tell a story of their 

The fact that I have lived for several years in a village spelt 
Selmeston and pronounced Simpson; within reach of Bright- 
helmston, pronounced Brighton, and next to the village of 
Chalvington, called Charnton, will, I think, be considered suffi- 
cient excuse for the direction my studies have taken. My 
daily intercourse with persons speaking the purest Sussex 
dialect has enabled me to add from time to time many fresh 
words to the excellent list published by Mr. Durrant Cooper in 
his "Glossary" (which must always be the guide book for all 
who take an interest in the subject) ; and when I found that I had 
added as many as a thousand words to those which he had already 
published, I thought I might venture to take the next step forward 
in making known the Sussex dialect among Sussex people by the 
publication of this book. I had called it a dictionary of the 
Sussex dialect before I was aware that my friend Mr. M. A. Lower 
had stated in an article published in the Sussex Archaeological 
Collections that there is no such thing as a Sussex dialect at 
all. I should be sorry to appear to set up my opinion in oppo- 
sition to one whose authority on all matters connected with the 
antiquities of our county is so generally recognized ; but I am 
sure that he will allow me the use of the word to indicate a form 
of speech, which in words and pronunciation is strictly defined 
by geographical boundaries, and frequently proves completely 
unintelligible to strangers who hear it for the first time. 

So far as a distinct collection of words can be called a 
dialect, it may be said that there are three dialects in use in the 
County of Sussex, the East Sussex, Mid Sussex and West Sussex ; 
and it will be observed that I have marked this distinction in the 
following pages by affixing to most of the words the initial of the 

7%<? Sussex Dialed. 3 

district in which they are used. But besides these, there are 
many words which, as far as I can ascertain, are common to the 
whole county, and to these no distinctive letter is annexed. 

I should (roughly) define the East Sussex district as the part 
of the county lying east of a line drawn northward from Hastings ; 
the West Sussex district would be bounded by a line running 
northward from Shoreham ; and the Mid Sussex district would, 
of course, be found between the two. I must request the reader 
to bear in mind these geographical distinctions, because few 
persons except word-collectors are acquainted with provincial 
expressions beyond their own district; and without this explana- 
tion it might be supposed that many words which occur in my 
list are not Sussex words at all. 

The sources from which our Sussex words are derived will 
naturally have a special interest for many of my readers. All 
who collect or study strange words are anxious to know where 
they come from; and I confess that I was much surprised when 
I found that one of the first pieces of advice which was circulated 
among the members of the English Dialect Society was to abstain 
from etymology. It seemed to me that to encourage people to 
collect words, and at the same time to forbid them to attempt to 
give their derivations, was very like presenting a boy with a pair 
of skates and then desiring him on no account to go upon the 
ice. I little knew how treacherous was the element from which 
this humane society warns us off, till I was myself involved in its 
dangers, and only just rescued by the untiring efforts of the 
secretary, Mr. Skeat, from the consequences of rashness which 
might have been fatal to the success of my work. 

Etymology is for many reasons surrounded with dangers and 
difficulties, not only on account of the prevalence and perpetua- 
tion of erroneous derivations already existing, on the authority 
of persons who knew nothing whatever of the subject, but also 
because there are so few works published on the subject which 
are reliable. 

4 The Sussex Dialect. 

Besides this, every amateur etymologist, who fancies he has 
made a fresh discovery, is led to make a series of wild shots 
at derivations, forgetting that it is the history of a word, and not 
the similarity of it to another in form or sound, which determines 
the source from which it is derived ; so one mistake leads to others, 
and the confusion becomes every day worse confounded. 

Still, I am aware that after all that can be said, word collectors 
will never be satisfied with merely collecting without deriving, 
and many of them will be at first inclined to resent any restriction 
of their liberties; therefore I hopethat the English Dialect Society 
will take an early opportunity of buoying the dangerous channels 
of etymology, and give a few clear and distinct directions whereby 
we may be able to steer a safe course within certain defined 

The dialect of the Sussex people has been affected by the 
geographical position and the history of the county. It may be 
traced chiefly to Anglo-Saxon, Old Dutch, Old Welsh (or 
British), with a dash of 14-th century French, and a little Scan- 
dinavian, the latter due to the sea-coast, which has for many 
generations invited hosts of friendly invaders to our shores, and 
has twice witnessed the landing of armies destined to influence 
the history and language of the whole country. 

When the Roman legions landed on our coast they left an 
evidence of their appreciation of the Pevensey shrimps, which 
remains to this day in the word pandle, derived from the Latin 
pandalus, which is in constant use in this part of the county. 

The arrival of the Normans, and the foundation of their 
large monastic establishments marks a very distinct phase in the 
history of our vocabulary. 

But it will be observed that most of our words now in common 
use, denoting agricultural and domestic implements, are either to 
be traced to an Anglo-Saxon derivation, or actually retain their 
original Anglo-Saxon names in all purity of spelling and pro- 
nunciation. From this source also nearly all the Sussex surnames 

The Sussex Dialed. 6 

and names of villages and farms (noticed in the Appendix) are 
derived. Nor must I forget to remark that when the Sussex 
peasant speaks of the sun as she, he uses an expression which 
clearly asserts his German origin. 

As might be expected, many words are due to our proximity 
to the coast. The Sussex fishermen, in their constant intercourse 
with their Dutch and French brethren, although finding much 
difficulty in parleying to their satisfaction, have nevertheless 
for many generations adapted and introduced so many foreign 
words into common use among themselves, that their vocabulary 
is almost worthy of being called a fourth branch of the dialect. 

Other circumstances, too, have tended to the increase of the 
French influence. Between 1562 and 1572 no less than 1,400 
refugees from France settled themselves in Sussex, and many of 
their names may be still traced among our labouring people in 
the eastern division of the county. Besides this, the establish- 
ments of French prisoners in later times, and the custom which 
still prevails, though not so much as it did, of shopkeepers and 
townsfolk exchanging children with French families in order 
that each might learn enough of the other's language to be 
useful in after life, has kept the French element alive amongst 
us, and accounts for the existence of many words which are not 
so much derived from as positive corruptions of modern French. 

But besides those words in the Sussex dialect which are 
really valuable as having been derived from authentic sources, 
there are a great many which are very puzzling to the 
etymologist, from the fact of their having been either actually 
invented without any reference to the laws of language, or 
adapted and corrupted from other words. A Sussex man has 
a great facility for inventing words. If he has any difficulty 
in expressing himself, he has no hesitation about forming a 
word for the occasion. This he does on the phonetic principle 
(if it can be said to be done on any principle at all), and as he 
prefers a long word, the result of his invention is generally very 

6 The Sussex Dialect. 

curious indeed ; and whether or not the word serves the purpose 
for which it was intended, it is sure to be caught up by some 
one else, and, especially if it is a long one, is very soon incorpo- 
rated among the words available for general use in the village. 

There are also many words which are used to convey 
meanings totally different to their original intention. These may 
be called words of substitution. They are introduced in this 
way, a person hears a word which he does not quite understand ; 
he does not take the trouble to ascertain either the meaning or 
pronunciation of it, but he uses a word something like it. This is 
specially the case with the names of complaints, such as will be 
found incidentally mentioned in some of the illustrations which 
I have given of the use of Sussex words, as, for instance, brown- 
crisis for bronchitis, and rebellious for bilious, &c. The names 
of any but the most common trees and shrubs are also strangely 
perverted. A friend of mine had a gardener who persisted in 
calling an acacia the Circassian, and after much pains had been 
taken to point out the mistake, never got nearer than calling it 
the cash-tree. I have heard chrysanthemums called Christy 
anthems, and China asters Chancy oysters ; but that was by the 
same man who also once enquired how I made out with "them 
Scotch-Chancy fowls" of mine. 

It is also surprising how little trouble people will take to 
ascertain correctly even the names of their neighbours, and I 
know an instance of a man who lost sight of his own name 
altogether, from having been accustomed for many years to hear 
it mispronounced. But this in a great measure is to be attributed 
to the fact that a musical ear is very rarely found among Sussex 
people, a defect which is remarkably shown not only in the 
monotonous tunes to which their old songs are sung, but also 
in the songs themselves, which are almost entirely devoid of 

The Sussex pronunciation is, generally speaking, broad and 
rather drawling. It is difficult to say why certain long words are 

The Sussex Dialect. 1 

abbreviated, or why certain short words are expanded. In some 
names of places every syllable, and even every letter, is made 
the most of as East Hdadlye for East Hoathly while others, 
like the name of my own village, are abruptly curtailed from 
three syllables to two by the most ruthless excision. 

As far as I can reduce the pronunciation of the Sussex 
people to anything like a system it is this, 

a before double d becomes ar; whereby ladder and 
adder are pronounced larder and arder. 

a before double / is pronounced like o; fallow and 
tallow become foller and toller. 

a before / is expanded into ea; rate, mate, plate, gate, 
are pronounced re'at, meat, pleat, ge'at. 

a before ct becomes e; as satisfection for satisfaction. 

e before ct becomes a; and affection, effect and neglect 
are pronounced affaction, effact and neglact. 

Double e is pronounced as i in such words as sheep, week, 
called ship and wick; and the sound of double e 
follows the same rule in fild for field. 

Having pronounced ee as t, the Sussex people in the most 
impartial manner pronounce i as ee, and thus mice, 
hive, dive, become meece, heeve and deeve. 

i becomes e in pet for pit, spet for spit, and similar 

io and oi change places respectively; and violet and violent 

become voilet and voilent, while boiled and spoiled 

are bioled and spioled. 

o before n is expanded into oa in such words as pony, 
dont, bone; which are pronounced poany, ddant, 
and bo'an. 

o before r is pronounced as a ; as earn and marning, for 
corn and morning. 

o also iTecomes a in such words as rad, crass, and crap, 
for rod, cross, and crop. 

ou is elongated into aou in words like hound, pound and 
mound ; pronounced haound, paound and maound. 

The final aw, as in many other counties, is pronounced er, 
as foller for fallow. 

8 The Sussex Dialect. 

The peculiarities with regard to the pronunciation of 
consonants are not so numerous as those of the 
vowels, but they are very decided and seem to admit 
of less variation. 

Double / is always pronounced as d; as liddle for little, 
&c., and the th is invariably d; thus the becomes 
de; and these, them, theirs dese, dem and deres. 

d in its turn is occasionally changed into th; as in fother 
for fodder. 

The final ps in such words as wasp, clasp, and hasp are 
reversed to wapse, elapse and hapse. 

Words ending in st have the addition of a syllable in the 
possessive case and the plural, and instead of saying 
"that some little birds had built their nests near the 
posts of Mr. West's gate," a Sussex boy would say 
"the birds had built their nestes near the postes of 
Mr. Westes' gate." 

Thus I have tried as nearly as possible to define the rules of 
Sussex pronunciation there are so many exceptions to all the 
rules that they can scarcely be called rules at all ; but with regard 
to one letter a rule can be given which admits of no exception. 
The letter h is never by any chance used in its right place; and 
any one who has ever attempted to teach a Sussex child to read, 
must be convinced that nothing short of a surgical operation 
could ever introduce a correct pronunciation of the aspirate into 
his system. 

I may here state that I have endeavoured to spell the words 
in this dictionary as nearly as possible as I have heard them pro- 
nounced ; but in the examples of Sussex conversation, &c., I have 
not attempted to follow out the exact pronunciation of the 
shorter words, because if I had done so, I should probably have 
rendered them incomprehensible to many of my readers and 
tiresome to all. 

It now remains for me to state the principle upon which 
I have selected certain words for my dictionary, to the exclusion 
of others which have been given in the glossaries of Ray, 
Cooper, Halliwell and Holloway, as Sussex words, 

The Sussex Dialect. 9 

I had to choose from, 

1. Words found only in some parts of Sussex; 

2. Words found in Sussex only; and 

3. Words found in Sussex, and also in other Counties. 

With respect to the first two classes of words there was no 
question beyond that of identification, and as regards their 
identity as being actually in use in the county, I may say that I have 
by myself, or upon the authority of friends on whom I can rely, 
personally identified almost all of the eighteen hundred words 
which will be found in this collection. But the reader will easily 
understand that my chief difficulty has been in dealing with 
provincialisms unquestionably used in Sussex, but also in such 
common use elsewhere as apparently to deprive them of a dis- 
tinctive character. The rule of my selection has been to include 
any provincial word not likely to have been adopted from a book, 
which I found in constant use among people who, as far as I could 
ascertain, had never been out of the county; and lest any of my 
readers should be inclined to complain of the admission of many 
words not distinctly belonging to Sussex, I have guarded myself 
in the title of the book I offer to their perusal, which is not only 
a dictionary of the Sussex dialect, but also a collection of pro- 
vincialisms in use in the County of Sussex. 

I have also endeavoured to illustrate the use of the words 
by specimens of conversation, most of which are taken from 
the life verbatim, and will serve to indicate some phases of 
character and thought which find frequent expression among 
our people. When the opportunity has occurred I have added 
examples of folk lore and proverbial philosophy which are 
rapidly becoming obsolete, and if not recorded may in another 
generation be entirely forgotten. Many of them point to 
superstitions, which are remarkable from the very fact they 
should exist at all in the presence of our advanced civiliza- 
tion, and many more are connected with old customs already 
passed away. 

10 The Sussex Dialect. 

I hope that they may at least serve the purpose of inducing 
some persons to look through the pages of my book, who would 
otherwise have taken no interest in a mere collection of words; 
and perhaps when they see how many interesting points may be 
elicited from closer intercourse with their poorer neighbours, 
they may be persuaded to become in their turn collectors of 
old words and stories of the past. 

I am convinced that there are many more words yet to be 
recorded, and I hope that some of my readers will send me 
materials for a larger dictionary of the Sussex dialect, which I 
hope some day to be able to complete. I have little doubt of 
finding many persons ready to help me in this respect, for I 
have already received much assistance from persons who were 
strangers to me till they saw my name in connection with this 
publication ; and even up to the last moment, while my work 
has been in the hands of the printers, several words have been 
sent me too late to find a place in the alphabetical list. I 
have, therefore, requested the publishers to add at the end of 
each volume a few blank pages, so perforated as to be easily 
detached without injury to the book, in the hope that such 
persons as are willing to help me, may write down and forward 
to me any words not hitherto published which may come under 
their notice; adding always the name of the locality in which 
they are used, their pronunciation if it seems necessary, and 
any proverb or anecdote which may add to their interest. 

In making this announcement I acknowledge the imper- 
fection of my own work. Such a work must of necessity be 
tentative and imperfect, but such as it is I offer it to the 
kind perusal of all who are interested in the old-world ideas 
and language of our kind-hearted old-fashioned Sussex folk, 
many of whom I number among my dearest friends. 




NOTE. The letters e, m, or -w, after a word, indicate that it is used in East, Mid or West 
Sussex. By East is meant the extreme East of the County. The words marked 
with an asterisk are those which I have not myself been able to identify, but are 
given on the authority of the glossaries of Durrant Cooper, Halliwell, or 



The prefixed a-, as used in the Sussex dialect, generally 
adds some slight force or intensity, and is retained in such 
words as a-dry, a-lost, a-nigh, &c. 

It is also almost invariably used with the participle ; as, 
"I am a-going as soon as I can." 


A-BEAR. \_A-beran, Ang. Sax.] An old form of bear, in the 
sense of endure or like. Used in the negative, " I never 
could a-bear that chap." 

A-BED. In bed. 

ABIDE. [Abidan, Ang. Sax.] To endure. Used with the nega- 
tive in the same way as a-bear. 

ABOUTEN, e. \_Abu/an,~Ang. Sax.] Just on the point of having 
done anything. 

Always used with a past tense; as, "I was abouten going 
out, when Master Noakes he happened along, and he kep' 

The syllable en is more frequently omitted in Sussex ; as, 
" My knife wants sharping." 

ABROAD, m. In all directions ; all about. 

12 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

ABUSEFUL, m. Abusive. 

ABUSEFULLY, m. In an abusive manner. 

"As my missus was a-going home a Saddaday night, she 
met Master Chawbery a-coming out of the Red Lion, and he 
treated her most abusefully, and threw abroad all her shop- 
goods. He's a man as aint no account at all aint Master 

ACCOUNT. Esteem; reputation. 

" The Princes both make high account of you." 

Richard III., Act iii. sc. 2. 

ACHE, e. To tire. "I am afraid you'll ache waiting so long." 

To long for anything. " Nancy just will be pleased, she 
has ached after a dole I don't know the time when." 

ADIN. [Corruption of Within.] 

The initial w is mostly omitted in Sussex; and th is always 
pronounced as d; thus, the wood becomes de 'ood; and 
within idin or adin. 

ADLE. [Ang. Sax., ddl.~] Pronounced ardle. Stupid. 
"He's an adle-headed fellow." 

ADLE, e. Slightly unwell. 

"My little girl seemed rather adle this morning, so I kep' 
her at home from school." 

ADONE. [Have done.] Leave off. 

I am told on good authority that when a Sussex damsel 
says "Oh! do adone," she means you to go on; but when 
s*he says " Adone-do," you must leave off immediately. 

ADRY. Thirsty. 

AFEARD. \_Af6ered, Ang. Sax.] Afraid. 

"Hal, art thou not horribly affeared?" 

I Henry IV., Act ii. sc. 4. 
AGARVES, m. May berries. 

AGIN. [Agen, Ang. Sax.] Near to ; against. 

"He lived up agin the Church, and died about forty yeere 

AGOO. Ago. 

AGREEABLE. Acquiescent; consenting. 

"They asked me if I'd come in and have a cup o' tea, and 
I was quite agreeable;" meaning that he accepted the 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 13 

AGWAIN. Going. 

ALONG-OF. On account of. 

"Along of her it was that we met here so strangely." 

Cymbeh'ne, Act v. sc. 5. 

This expression is often expanded into all-along-of, and 
even, all-through-along-on-account-of ; as " Master Piper he 
lost his life all-through-along-on-account-of drink." 

ALL-ON, m. Incessantly. 

" He kept ail-on making a noise." 
ALL-ONE. All the same; as, 

"Well, 'tis all one whether ye do or whether ye ddant." 
ALLOW. To give as an opinion. 

"As I was agwaine down the street, I ses to Master 
Nappet ses I, what d'ye think of this here job down at the 
blacksmith's ? I ses, and Master Nappet he allowed that it 
was amost too bad!" 

ALLTSINIT, m. [All that's in it.] Merely. 

AMENDMENT, m. Manure. 

"You go down to the ten-acre field, and spread that 
amendment abroad, and peck up them ammut-castes." 

AMMUTS, m. Emmets; ants. 

AMMUT-CASTES. Emmet-castes; ant-hills. 

This form of plural is invariably retained in words ending 
with st, as postes, nestes. The reduplicated plural is also 
not unfrequently used ; and a Sussex man would see nothing 
absurd in saying, 

"I saw the ghostesses, 
Sitting on the postesses, 
Eating of their toastesses, 
And fighting with their fistesses." 
AMOST. Almost. 

AMPER.* A flaw or fault in linen or woollen cloth. 

AMPERY, m. \_Ampre, Ang. Sax., a flaw.] Beginning to decay, 
especially applied to cheese. 

AMPERY. Weak; unhealthy. 
AMPRE-ANG.* A decayed tooth. 

ANCLEY, m. \ 


ANCLIFF-BONE. In East Sussex, I have put out my ancliff-bone, 
is equivalent to I have sprained my ankle. 
B 2 

14 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect, 

ANDIRONS. The ornamental irons on each side of the hearth in 
old fire-places, before grates were introduced. The andirons 
were sometimes made of superior metal, or gilt, and of very 
large dimensions. 

"Her andirons (I had forgot them) were two winking cupids of 
silver." Cymbeline, Act ii. sc. 4. 

ANEWST.* [Neawest, Ang. Sax.] Nigh; almost; near at hand. 
ANIGH. Nigh; near. 

AN. Of. " If you wants to be rid an him, you lend him a six- 
pence; I lay he'll never come anigh you no more." 

ANYWHEN. At any time. 

APPLETERRE.* [Apple and tern, French.] An orchard. 

APPLETY, e. [Apple, and tye an enclosure.] An apple-loft, where 
the fruit is kept. 

This word is used on the borders of Kent, in which county 
the word tye means an enclosure, whereas in Sussex it means 
an open common. 

APSE. [sEpse, Ang. Sax.] An aspen tree. 

ARDER. An adder. In Sussex the letters a and e are often 
pronounced as in French. 

The country people say that an adder can never die till 
sunset. If it be cut to pieces, the bits will retain their 
vitality till the sun goes down. They also say that on the 
adder's belly will be found the words, 

" If I could hear as well as see, 
No man in life could master me." 

ARG, m. To argue ; to wrangle. 

" These chapelfolks always wants to arg." 
ARGIFY, m. To signify; to import. 

"I do'ant know as it argifies much whether I goos to-day 
or whether I goos to-morrow." 

ARTER. [Corruption of After.] 

ASHEN. Made of the wood of the ash. 

ASLEW, m. Aslant. 

ATWEEN. Between. Also used in the Eastern Counties. 

ATWIXT. Betwixt. 

AWHILE. For a time. 

" We shan't have no gurt frostes yet awhile not atwixt 
now and Christmas, very like," 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 15 

AVISED, e. [Aviser, French.] Aware of. To know for a 

" I'm well avised that John spent all his wages at the 

AUMRY, e. [Aumoire, Old French, a cupboard.] 


AWMRY, <?. A large chest. 

"And when they had eaten, King Arthur made great clerks 
to come before him that they should chronicle the high 
adventures of the good knights; and all was made great 
books and put in almeries at Salisbury." 

Sir Thomas Malory's Morte D'Artur. 

AXEY, e. The ague. A complaint which is very prevalent in 
many parts of Sussex. There is a different name for it in 
almost every district. In some places it is believed that 
it may be cured by the following charm, which, to be 
efficacious, must be written on a three-cornered piece of 
paper and worn round the neck till it drops off, 
"Ague, ague, I thee defy, 
Three days shiver, 
Three days shake, 
Make me well for Jesus' sake ! " 


BACKSTAYS, or BACKSTERS. Wide flat pieces of board, made 
like snow shoes, which are strapped on the feet and used by 
the fishermen in walking over the loose beach or soft mud 
on the seashore. 



BACKWENT, m. These words, which are evidently of Saxon con- 
struction, can only be explained by giving instances of 
their use. "He was backturned when I saw him," means 
"he was standing with his back to me." "I only saw him 
backwent," means "I only saw him as he was going away 
from me." 

BAIT, m. Afternoon re/reshment, with which strong beer is 
given, in the hay and harvest field. 

BALDERDASH.* ("Probably derived from Ang. Sax., JBaldwyrda, a 
saucy jester. J Obscene conversation. 

BALLET, m. A ballad. 

16 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

BANNICK, m. To beat. 

"I'll give him a good bannicking if I catch him. 
BARLEY-CHAMFER, w. An instrument for cutting off the beards 
of the barley. 

BARK. To cough. 

"I can't abear for my master to goo to church; I 
keeps up such a barking, that nobody can't hear naun for 

BARTON, m. [Sere-tun, Ang. Sax., a court-yard.] The demesne 
lands of a manor. The manor house itself. More fre- 
quently the outhouses and yards. 

BARWAY, m. A field-gate, made of bars or rails so fitted as to draw 
out from the posts. 

BAT. {Baton, French, a stick.] A rough walking-stick. 

BATCH. A quantity of bread baked at once without heating the 

oven afresh. 

"How now, thou core of envy? 
Thou crusty batch of nature, what's the news?" 

Troilus and Cressida, Act v. sc. I. 

BATFOWLER. One who takes birds at night with a large folding- 
net on long poles, called a batfowling net. 

Gon: "You are gentlemen of brave metal; you would lift the moon 
out of her sphere, if she would continue in it five weeks without 
Seb : " We would so, and then go a batfowling." 

Tempest, Act ii. sc. I. 

BATTER. [Abattre, French, to beat down.] A wall which 
diminishes upwards is said to batter. 

BAVINS. Brushwood faggots. 

" The skipping king, he ambled up and down, 
With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits, 
Soon kindled, and soon burnt." 

i Henry IV., Act iii. sc. 2. 
BAWL, e. To read aloud. 

A mother said of a child who did not go to school on 
account of illness, " I keeps him to his book all the same, 
and his father likes to hear him bawl a bit in the evening." 

BAY. A pond-head made up to a sufficient height to keep in 
store water. 

BAY. A compartment of a barn. The space between the main 
beams of the roof: so that a barn crossed twice with beams 
is a barn of three bays. 

" If this law hold in Vienna ten years, I'll rent the fairest house in 
it, after three-pence a bay." Measure for Measure, Act iii. sc. 2. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 17 

BE. A common prefix to verbs, generally conveying a reflective 
and intensitive power, as be-smeared, be-muddled, be- 

BEACH, m. Shingle brought from the sea-coast is always called 
beach, as opposed to the inland gravel. 

long rigmarole story without much point. 

An old man at Rye said he did not think the new curate 
was much of a hand in the pulpit, he did beat the devil 
round the gooseberry-bush so. 

BEAZLED, m. Completely tired out. 

"He comes home tired of an evening, but not beazled 
like boys who go to plough." 

BECK. \_Becc, Ang. Sax., a brook.] A rivulet. 
BECK, w. \_Becca, Ang. Sax., a pickaxe.] A mattock. 
To BECK, is to use the beck or mattock. 
BEDSTEDDLE. A bedstead. 
BEEPOT. A beehive. 

BEESKEP, e. \_Scep, Ang. Sax., a basket.] A beehive, or the straw 
hackle placed over the hive to protect it. 

There is a superstition in the county, that if a piece of 
black crape is not put round the hive after a death in the 
family, the bees will die. 

BEEVES, m. A corruption of Bee-hives; the i in the word hives 
being pronounced as in French. 

"Well, John, how are you going to make out this winter? 
Well, I reckon I shall have to make brooms and beeves." 

BEEVER, w. Eleven o'clock luncheon. 

BEGRIDGE, m. To grudge. 

BEHITHER, e. On this side. It answers to beyond. 

"The fifty-first milestone stands behither the village, and 
the fifty-second beyond." 

BEING. An abode; a lodging. 

" Return he cannot, nor 
Continue where he is : to shift his being, 
Is to exchange one misery for another." 

Cymbeline, Act i. sc. 6. 
BELEFT, m. Perfect of believe. 

"I never should have beleft that he'd have gone on 
belvering and swearing about as he did." 

18 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

BELVER, m. To make an angry disturbance. 

BENCH. A widow's bench is the share of the husband's estate 
which a woman enjoys besides her jointure. 

BEST, m. To get the better of anyone; to beat at any game. 
"I bested him every time." 

BETHERED, e. Bed-ridden. 

" Poor creature ! She was bethered three years before she 
BETHWINE. The wild clematis. 

BETTERMOST. Superior; above the average. Generally quali- 
fied by the word rather. 

"The new people who have come to live down at the 
cottage seem rather bettermost sort of folks." 

BIBLER-CATCH, w. [Bilboquet, French.] The game of cup and 

BIDE. \_JBidan, Ang. Sax., to remain.] To wait; remain. 

"If ye've got one you can run; 
If ye've got two you may goo ; 
But if ye've got three 
You must bide where you be." 

Sussex Proverbial Advice to a Young Mother. 

BIND-DAYS, w. Days on which the tenants of certain manors 
were bound to work for their lord. 

BINE, m. The hop stalk which binds round the pole. 

BISCUIT. In Sussex the words biscuit and cake interchange 
their usual meaning. A plum biscuit, or a seed biscuit, 
means a plain cake made of either of these ingredients. 

BISHOP-BARNABY, e. The lady-bird. 

In some parts of Sussex the lady-bird is called the lady- 
bug; in others, fly-golding, or God Almighty's cow, by 
which singular name it is also known in Spanish (Vaca 
de Dios). The children set the insect on their finger, and 

"Bishop Bishop-Barnabee, 
Tell me when my wedding shall be; 
If it be to-morrow day, 
Ope your wings and fly away." 

BITTEN, m. \_Bitende, Ang. Sax., biting.] Inclined to bite. 

"Mind that dog, he's terrible bitten." 
BITTLE, w. A wooden milk bowl. 

^1 Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 19 

BITTLE-BATTLE. The game of stoolball. 

There is a tradition that this game was originally played 
by the milk-maids with their milking-stools, which they 
used for bats ; but this word makes it more probable that 
the stool was the wicket, and that it was defended with the 
bittle, which would be called the bittle-bat; hence the word 

BLACKEYED SUSAN, m. A well pudding, with plums or raisins 

in it. 
BLAME. A common substitute for a worse word. 

"Blame ye! ye be always at something; be blamed if I 

ddant give it yer one of these days." 

BLANKET-PUDDING, m. A long round pudding, made of flour 
and jam; sometimes called a bolster-pudding. 

BLEAT, m. Cold; cutting; applied to the wind. 

BLOBTIT, m. A tell-tale. 

BLUNDER, m. A noise as of something heavy falling. 

"I heard a terrible blunder overhead." 
BLUNDER. To make a noise. 

BLUV, or BLIV. [Corruption of Believe.] "I bluv" is often 
used at the end of an assertion in the sense of "you may 
take my word for it," as, "'Taint agoing to rain to-day, I 

BLY, <?. \JBleo, Ang. Sax., hue.] A resemblance; a general 

"I can see a bly of your father about you." 

BOBBINGNEEDLE, m. A bodkin. 

Boco, e. [Beaucoup, French, much.] A large quantity. This 
word is principally used by the fishermen. 

BODGER. [Corruption of Badger.] 
BOFFLE. A confusion or mistake. 

" If you sends him of a errand he's purty sure to make a 
boffle of it." 

BOKE. \_Bealctan, Ang. Sax.] To nauseate. 

BONDLAND, w. \JBonde-land, is defined in Bosworth's Anglo- 
Saxon Dictionary as fend held under restrictions.] 

Used in Framfield and Mayfield for old cultivated or yard- 
lands, as distinguished from assart-lands, which were parts 
of forests cleared of wood and put into a state of cultiva- 
tion, for which rents were paid under the name of assart- 

20 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

BOOK. The Bible is almost always spoken of by old people as 
the Book. Not many years ago the family Bible was the 
only book to be found in the cottages of the poor; now 
the frequent visits of the book-hawker have introduced a 
taste for reading into the remotest districts of the county, 
but still the Bible retains its title of the Book; and I was 
glad to hear a rough-looking carter boy say the other day, 
"I always read a bit of my Book before I goos to bed." 

BOOT-LEGS, m. Short gaiters, not reaching to the knee. 
Boss. To throw. 

BOSTAL, or BORSTAL. A pathway up a hill, generally a very 
steep one, and on the northern escarpment of the Downs; 
as the White Bostal near Alciston, the Ditchling Bostal, &c. 

With respect to the derivation of this much-disputed 
word, Professor Bosworth has kindly given me the 
following: Burg-stal,-stol, es; m [burg, beorg, beorh,ahill, 
stal a place, seat, dwelling.] A hill-seat, dwelling on a hill ; 
sedes super collem vel clivum, Cot. 209. The name of places 
built on a hill, as Burstall in Suffolk, Borstall in Kent and 
Oxfordshire, &c. 

Mr. Kemble (Sussex Archaeological Collection, vol. ii., 
p. 292) takes " the first word of the compound to be 
the Saxon word beorh, a hill or mountain, the passing of 
which into bor, is neither unusual nor surprising. The 
second word is not so easily determined. Were the 
word ever written borstill, Mr. K. should suggest the Saxon 
stigel, a stile or rising path; and beorh-stigel would be 
the hill-path or mountain-path. He does not know whether, 
in that branch of the West Saxon which prevailed in Sussex, 
'steal' did signify a road or way; but it is not without pro- 
bability that some of the Anglo-Saxon dialects might have 
justified that use of the term; for 'stealian' or 'stellan' 
does sometimes seem to be applied in the sense of 'going or 

BOTTOM, m. A valley in the Downs. 
BOTTOM, w. A reel of cotton. 

BOUGE, m. \_Bouge, French.] A water cask. 
The round swelling part of a cask. 

BOUGH-HOUSE, m. A private house allowed to be open at fairs 
for the sale of liquor. 

An old person describing the glories of Selmeston fair, 
which has now been discontinued many years, said "There 
was all manner of booths and bough-houses." 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 21 

In former times putting up boughs upon anything was an 
indication that it was to be sold, and a bush at the end of a 
pole was the badge of a country ale house ; which gave rise 
to the proverb, "Good wine needs no bush," i.e., nothing to 
point out where it is sold. 

BOULDER-HEAD. A work against the sea, made up of small 
wooden stakes. 

BOUT. A day's work. 

"I shan't do it this bout," means, I shall not finish to-day. 

BOZZLER, m. A parish constable; a sheriffs officer. 

BRABAGIOUS, e. An adjective of reproach, the exact meaning of 
which is difficult to define ; but it is generally considered 
available for use in a quarrelsome discussion between 
females. "You nasty brabagious creature." 

It seems to combine the advantages of Mrs. Gamp's two 
principal epithets, bragian and bage. 

BRAKE. The common fern. Pteris aquilina. 

" I'll run from thee and hide me in the brakes." 

Mid. Night's Dream, Act ii. sc. 2. 
BRAKE. A kneading trough. 

BRANDS, or BRANDIRONS. Irons used for supporting the brands 
for burning wood in a wood fire. 

BRAVE, m. [Brave, French.] Well in health. 

"How are you, John?" "I'm bravely, thank you." 

BRAVE, m. Prosperous. 

"I have been making out bravely since you were last here." 

BREACHY. Brackish, applied to water. 

BREACHY. \_Breche, French, a breach.] A word applied to 
cattle which are wild and liable to break through the fences. 

BREAD-AND-BUTTERS, m. [Compare, Butter-brod, German.] 
Pronounced brenbutters; slices of bread buttered ; used in 
the same way as the French word tartine. 

BREAD-AND-CHEESE-FRIEND, e. A true friend as distinguished 
from a cupboard-lover. 

"He's a regular brencheese friend he is, not like a good 
many, always after what they can get." 

BRICKS, m. The paved walk in front of a cottage, or paved path 
in a garden. 
"I'm always pleased to see him a-coming up my bricks." 

22 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

BRITT, m. [Brytan, Aug. Sax., to break.] To shatter like hops 
from being over-ripe. 

BROACH, w. [Brvche, French.] A spit. 

"Broached with the steely point of Clifford's lance." 

in Henry VL, Act ii. sc. 3. 
BRONK, m. A disdainful toss of the head. 

"She didn't choose to see me, so she just gave a bronk 
and passed on." 
BROOK, m. A water meadow. 

BROOM-DASHER, m, BROOMSQUIRE, w. A dealer in faggots, 
brooms, &c. 
The word dasher is also combined in haberdasher. 

BROOM-CLISHER, m. [Clish, a bond.] A broom maker. 

BROWN-BIRD, m. Thrush. 

BRUFF, e. Rough; short in manners and speech. 

BRUSS, m. [Compare French Brusque, blunt.] Proud; upstart. 

BRUSTLES. [Variation of Bristles.] 

BRUTTE, e. \_Brouter, French, to nibble.] To browse or feed upon. 

BRUTTLE. Always in Sussex used for brittle. 

BUCKING, m. \Buc, Ang. Sax., a tub.] A washing of clothes. 

BUD, w. A calf of the first year, so called because the horns then 
begin to appear or bud. 

BUDDY, w. Stupid, in the same sense as the word calf is often 
used for a stupid fellow. 

BUDGE, w. \_Bouge, French.] A cask placed on wheels for carrying 
water. (See Bouge.) 

BUDGE, m. [Bonder, French, to pout.] Grave ; solemn. 

"He looked very budge when I asked him who stole the 

BUG. Any hard-winged insect. 
BULLOCK, m. A fat beast of either sex. 

I was very much astonished when I first heard a farmer say, 

" Yes, she's a purty cow, a very purty cow indeed, and one 

of these days she'll make a nice bullock." 

BUMBLESOME, m. Hunched up; misfitting. 

BUMBOO, m. A mysterious compound of spirituous liquors, under 
the influence of which, Mr. Turner, draper, of Easthoathly, 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 23 

made the following entry in his diary: "1756, April 28th. 
I went down to Jones', where we drank one bowl of punch 
and two muggs of bumboo, and I came home again in 
liquor. Oh ! with what horrors does it fill my heart to think 
I should be guilty of doing so, and on a Sunday too ! Let 
me once more endeavour, never, no never, to be guilty of 
the same again." 

BUNCH, m. A swelling. 

" It came out in bunches all over me." 

BUNGER, m. To do anything awkwardly. 

BUNNY, w. A wooden or brick drain laid under a road or gateway 
to carry off the water; also called a cocker. 

BUNT, e. To rock a cradle with the foot ; to push or butt. 

A bunt is described to me as a push with a knock in it, 
or a knock with a push in it. 

" I'll give you a middlhr bunt prensley if you ddant keep 

BUNTER, m. An old-fashioned machine for cleaning corn. 

BURGH, m. [Burg, Ang. Sax.] A rising ground ; a hillock. The 
term is frequently applied to the barrows or tumuli on the 

BURNISH,*?. To grow fat. The expression, "You burnish nicely," 
meaning, "You look well," is frequently used in East Sussex, 
and is meant as a compliment. 

BUTTER-MY-WIG, m. A strong asseveration. 
" No I wunt ; butter my wig if I will ! " 

BY-THE-BYE, e. By chance. 

"He come along one day by-the-bye, or else he hasn't 
been a-nigh me for the last ten years." 

BYTHEN. By the time that. 

"Bythen you've come back 'twill be coager-time." 

BYSTE, m. A couch made up of two chairs for a child to sleep 
upon in the day-time. 

BYSTE, m. To lie down in the day-time. 

"I was quite took to (ashamed) to think you should have 
come in the other day and found me bysted, but I was quite 
entirely eat up with the rheumatics, and couldn't get about 
no hows." 

24 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 


CAB.* \Cabaler, French, to plot.] A small number of persons 
secretly united in the performance of some undertaking. 

CADGER. Not only a travelling beggar, but anyone given to 
begging is called by this name in Sussex. 

CALL OUT OF NAME, m. To call a person out of his name is not 
to give him his proper title. 

" And then, what d'ye think he says ? Why, he says 
"ooman,' and I aint a-going to be called out of my name 
by such a fellow as him, I can promise him." 

CALL-OVER, m. To abuse. 

" He come along here a cadging, and fancy he just did 
call me over, because I told him as I hadn't got naun to give 
CALLOW, m. \Calo, Ang. Sax., bald.] Smooth; bare. 

The woods are said to be getting callow when they are 
just beginning to bud out. 

CAMBER, e. A harbour. 

Winchilsea Castle, built to protect Rye harbour, is called 
Camber Castle. 

CAMSTEERY, e. A horse is said to be very camsteery when it does 
not go steadily. 
In Northumberland the word means crazy. 

CANT. To upset or let fall. 

"The cart canted over and he was canted out into the 

CANT. A corner of a field. 

A haystack is said to be cut across in cants, and a field of 
wheat is divided into cants when it is partitioned out in slips 
for the reapers, each of whom takes one or more cants as 
his share of work. 

CARFAX. \_Carrefourgs, Old French, crossways.] A place where 
four roads meet, as the Carfax at Horsham. 

CARP-PIE.* To eat carp-pie is to submit to another person's 
carping at your actions. 

CATCH HOT, e. To take a fever. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 25 

CATCH HURT, m. To meet with an accident. An old man once 
told me that he catched hurt at Chiddingly Church, meaning 
that he got married there. 

CATERCROSS, w. Slanting. 
CATERING, m. From corner to corner. 

CATERWISE, m. Diagonally. 

"If you goos caterwise across the field you'll find the 
CATS TAILS. The male blossom of hazel or willow. 

CATTERNING. To go catterning is to go round begging for 
apples and beer for a festival on St. Catherine's Day, and 

"Cattern' and Clemen' be here, here, here, 
Give us your apples and give us your beer, 
One for Peter, 
Two for Paul, 

Three for him who made us all ; 
Clemen' was a good man, 
Cattern' was his mother; 
Give us your best, 
And not your worst, 
And God will give your soul good rest." 

CAVINGS, w. \_Ceaf, Ang. Sax., chaff.] The short straws or ears 
which are raked off the corn when it is thrashed. 

CAVING-RIDDLE, w. A sieve for cavings. 

CERTAIN SURE, e. The superlative of certainly. 

" I hope you are pretty well to-day. Certain sure, indeed !" 

CHACKET, m. To cough. 
CHANCE-BORN, e. An illegitimate child. 

CHAMP, w. Firm ; hard. 

"The river has a champ bottom." 

CHANGES. Shirts and shifts. 

If you ask what a girl or boy stand most in need of on 
first going to service, you are sure to be told "changes." I 
have not got a change means, I have no linen. 

The following inventory of the outfit of a girl going to 
service is taken from the account book of Selmeston parish, 
1745: "An account of Grace Barber's cloaths, 14 caps 
and moobs, ^ changes, one gown, ^ white hancerchifs, 3 
coats, ^ spackol hancerchifs, one white apron, ^ other 

CHAPEL-MASTER, m. A dissenting preacher. 

26 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

CHARGER, e. A large platter or meat dish. 
CHARM-STUFF, e. Ague medicine. 

In Sussex, medicine is generally spoken of as physical 
medicine, but it is carefully distinguished from doctor's stuff, 
by which a tonic is meant. 

The use of charms, especially in cases of ague or wounds, 
is still prevalent in the country; and the following charm is 
not unfrequently used for the cure of a burn. It must be 
repeated three times, 

" Two Angels from the North, 
One brought fire, one brought frost : 

Out fire, in frost, 
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." 

CHASTISE, m. To accuse. 

" They've been chastising my boy of setting the faggot- 
stack a-fire." 

CHAVISH, e. A chattering or prattling noise of many persons 
speaking together. 
A noise made by a flock of birds. 

CHECK, m. To reproach or taunt. 

" He checked him of his cousin Tom (who had been sent 
to prison)." 

CHEE, e. A hen-roost. Going to chee is going to roost. 

CHEQUER, w. The service tree. Pyrus torminalis. The fruit 
is called chequers. 

CHESS, e. A plaid. 

" I brought a chess shawl for mother." 

CHICK. In East Sussex used as the plural of chicken. 

" I reckon you have got a good sight of chick here." 

CHICKEN. In Mid-Sussex used as the plural of chick. 

CHILL. To take off the extreme coldness from any beverage by 
placing it before the fire. 

"I often gets my mistus to chill a drop of beer for me, 
when I comes home winter evenings." 

CHIZZLE, w. Bran. 

CHIZZLY, e. \_Ceosel, Ang. Sax., sand.] Gritty; harsh and dry 
under the teeth. 

CHOGS, m. The refuse cuttings of the hop plants when dressed 
in the spring before being polled. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 27 

CHOICE, m. Careful. 

"He aint got but two brockyloes, but he's middlin' choice 
over them, I can tell ye." 

CHOCK. To choke. 
CHOCKLY, m. Choky; dry. 
CHOPPER, w. A dried pig's face. 

CHOW, m. To chew. 

" The old cow's better this morning, she's up and chowing 
her quid." 

CHUCKER, m. Cosily; to chucker oneself is to chuckle over 

CHUCKS, m. Large chips of wood. 


CHUFF, m. Churlish; surly. 

" The old gentleman he went out to get a few chucks, 
and there they was, a sitting in the wood-house together 
jes' as chucker; and he was middlin' chuff about it, I bluv!" 

CHURCH-BAWLED, or CHURCH-CRIED, m. Having the banns 

published in church. 
The tradition in Sussex is that if a person goes to church 

to hear himself cried, his children will be born deaf and 

CHURCH-LITTEN, m. \_Lictun, Ang. Sax., a burying-place.] A 

church -yard. 

CLAM. \Clam, Ang. Sax., anything that holds or retains.] A 

CLAPPER. The tongue. 

" He hath a heart as sound as a bell, and his tongue is the clapper ; 
for what his heart thinks his tongue speaks." 

Much Ado About Nothing, Act iii. sc. 2. 

CLAVELS, w. The separate corns in an ear of wheat. 

CLEAT, e. A piece of wood placed to prevent a door or gate from 
swinging backwards and forwards. 

CLEAT-BOARDS, w. Mud pattens; broad flat pieces of board 
fastened on the shoes to enable a person to walk on the 
mud without sinking into it ; much used by the eel-spearers 
at Chichester harbour and elsewhere. 

CLEMMENING. Going round from house to house asking for 
apples and beer for St. Clement's Day. 


28 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

In spite of a proclamation made at London, July 22, 1540, 
that "neither children should be decked ne go about upon 
St. Nicholas', St. Catherine, St. Clement, the Holy Inno- 
cents', and such-like days," the children in some parts of 
East Sussex still keep up the custom of catterning and 
clemmening, and the Sussex blacksmiths are particularly 
active in commemorating their patron saint; the anvils are 
fired with a loud explosion, and at least a half-holiday is 
kept. At Burwash, a few years ago, it was the custom to 
dress up a figure with a wig and beard and a pipe in his 
mouth, and set it up over the door of the inn where the 
blacksmiths feasted on St. Clement's day. 

CLIM. To climb. 

CLINKERS. Small bricks burnt very hard and used for paving. 
The hard refuse cinders from a forge fire. 

CLISH, m. The bond or band by which heath or birch brooms are 

CLITCH, w. A cluster. 

CLOCKSMITH, m. A watchmaker. 

"I be quite lost about time, I be; for I've been forced to 
send my watch in to the clocksmith. I couldn't make no 
sense of mending it myself; for I'd iled it and I'd biled it, 
and then I couldn't do more with it." 

CLOGUE, m. To flatter. 

CLOPPERS, or CLOG-BOOTS. Boots with wooden soles, worn by 
the fishermen on some parts of the coast. 

CLOSE, w. A farmyard. 

CLOVERLAY. \Clafer and bag, Ang. Sax.] A field of clover 
which has been lately mown. 

CLUCK, m. Out of spirits; slightly unwell. A hen is said to be 
cluck when she wants to sit. 

CLUNG, m. Cold and damp. 

The mown grass is spoken of as very clung after having 
been exposed to wet chilly weather, so that it has not hayed 

CLUTCH, <?. Close ; tightly. 

"If you takes up a handful of the hay and holds it pretty 
clutch, you'll soon see 'taint fit to carry, for 'tis terr'ble clung." 

CLUTCH, w. A brood of chickens or a covey of partridges. 
CLUTTER-UP, m. To throw into confusion; to crowd. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 


COARSE, e. Rough ; stormy ; applied to weather. 

COARSE, e. Childish. 

"She is twelve years old, but she is so coarse for her years 
that you would not take her to be but ten." 

COAST.* \_Coste, Old French, a rib.] The ribs of cooked meat, 
particularly lamb. 

COBBLE-STONES. Pebbles on the sea shore. 
COCKER, w. A culvert ; a drain under a road or gate. 

COCKER-UP. To spoil ; to gloss over with an air of truth. 

"You see this here chap of hers he's cockered-up some 
story about having to goo away somewheres up into the 
sheeres; and I tell her she's no call to be so cluck over it; 
and for my part I dunno but what I be 1 very glad an't, for he 
was a chap as was always a cokeing about the cupboards, 
and cogging her out of a Sunday." 

CODDLE, e. To parboil. 

Apples so cooked are called coddled-apples. 

CODGER. A miser ; a stingy old fellow. 

COG, m. \_Cogger, Old English, a trickster.] To entice. 

"I cannot flatter, and speak fair, 
Smile in men's faces, smooth, deceive, and cog." 

Richard III., Act i. sc. 3. 

COAGER, m. Luncheon. Called in some parts of the county an 
elevener, from the time at which it is generally taken by the 

COAGER-CAKE. A plain cake is often baked as the coager cake, 
for the week's consumption. 

COILERS. (See Quilers.) 

COKE, m. \Jtijken, Dutch, to peep about.] To pry about. 

COLE.* Seakale. 

COME. When such a time arrives. 

" I shall be eighty-two come Ladytide." 

COMMENCE, m. An affair; a job. 

" Here's a pretty commence!" 

COMP, m. \Comp, Ang. Sax.] A valley. 

Some cottages in the parish of Beddingham are called by 
this name, from which also the name of the village of 
Compton is derived, 


30 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect, 

CONEY, m. A rabbit. 

"There is no remedy: I must coney-catch, 
I must shift." 

Merry Wives of Windsor, Act i. sc. 3. 


This is one of the many expressions used in Sussex to 
avoid the word drank. To have had a little beer, means to 
have had a great deal too much ; to have half-a-pint other- 
while, means to be an habitual drunkard; to be none the 
better for what he had took, means to be much the worse ; 
to be noways tossicated, implies abject helplessness. A 
Sussex man may be tight, or concerned in liquor, but drank 
never ! 

In the village of Selmeston the blacksmith's shop is next 
door to the public-house. I have met numbers of people 
going up to the forge, but never one going to the Barley- 

CONTRAIRY. \_Contraire, French.] Disagreeable; obstinately 

A man describing his deceased wife, to whom he was 
really very much attached, said, "She was a very nice, 
pleasant 'ooman as long as no one didn't interrupt her, but 
if you had ever so few words with her, she'd be just as con- 
trairy as ever was a hog." 

CONTRAPTION, m. Contrivance; management. 

A pedlar's pack is spoken of sometimes as his contraption. 
COMB, m. An instrument used by thatchers. 

COOCH-GRASS. \Cwic, Ang. Sax.] A coarse, bad species of 
grass, which grows very rapidly on arable land, and does 
much mischief by the long stringy roots which it throws out 
in great quantities. 

Barnes says, with reference to this Cooch, couch grass, 
quitch grass, creeping wheat grass, Triticum repens. Mr. 
Vernon suggests that it was originally quick grass, from its 
lively growth. 

COOMBE, or COMBE, m. [Cwm, Welsh, a valley.] A hollow in 
the Downs. 

This word is to be traced in the names of many South- 
down villages and farms, such as Telscombe, Ashcombe, &c. 
COOLTHE, e. Coolness. 

" I set the window open for coolthe." 
COP, e. To throw; to heap anything up. 

COPSON, w. A fence placed on the top of a small dam laid across 
a ditch for the purpose of keeping sheep from going over it. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 31 

CORD. A cord of wood is a pile of wood cut up for burning, 
8ft. by 4ft. and 4ft. thick. 

CORDBATS, or CORDWOOD, m. Large pieces of wood, roots, &c., 
set up in stacks. 

CORE, w. [Cceur, French, heart.] The middle of a stack of hay 
which has been cut away all round. 

COTTERIL, w. A pothook ; or a hook to hang spits on. 

COUSINS, e. To call cousins, is to be on intimate terms ; but it is 
generally used in the negative, as, "She and I doant call 
cousins at all." 

COUNTABLE. A contraction of unaccountable. 

"Mymistus is countable ornaryagin to-day." 

CRACKLINGS, w. Crisp cakes. 

CRANK, CRANKY, e. Merry; cheerful; also drunk. 

CRAP, or CRAPGRASS. Ray-grass. Lolium perenne. 

CRAY-RING, m. The ring on the top of the long handle of a 
scythe into which the blade is fixed. 

CRAZY. Out of order; dilapidated. An old decayed building 
is said to be crazy. 

CRAZY-HOUSE. A lunatic asylum. 

CREEPERS, m. Low pattens mounted on short iron stumps 
instead of rings. 

CRIP, or CRUP. Crisp. 

CRISSCROSS [CHRIST'S CROSS], m. The alphabet; so called 
because in the old horn books it was preceded by a cross. 

In the north of England a crisscross is the mark of a 
person who cannot write his name. 

CROCK, e. A smut or smudge. 

"You have got a crock on your nose." 

CROCK. [Crocca, Ang. Sax., a pitcher.] An earthen vessel. 

"Go to the end of the rainbow and you'll find a crock of 
gold." Sussex Proverb. 

The Bavarians have a similar proverb ; but they say that 
the crock can only be found by one who was born on a 
Sunday, and that if such a person can find it and retain it in 
his possession, it will always contain three ducats. 

CROCK BUTTER, m. Salt butter, which in Sussex is usually potted 
down in brown earthenware crocks. 

32 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

CROFT, m. {Croft, Ang. Sax., a small enclosed field.] A small 

piece of pasture land near to a house. 
CROSS-WAYS. A place where four roads meet. 

CROWNATION. Coronation. 

" I was married the day the Crownation was, when there 

was a bullock roasted whole up at Furrel (Firle) Park. I 

doant know as ever I eat anything so purty in all my life; 

but I never got no further than Furrel cross-ways all night, 

no more didn't a good many." 
CROWSFOOT. The butter-cup. Ranunculus bulbosus and allied 

CRUMMY. Fat; fleshy. 

" He aint near so crummy as what he was afore he went 

to Lewes jail." 
CRUTCHES, e. [Cruche, French, a pitcher.] Broken pieces of 

CRY, e. Several dogs of all kinds. 

"I knew it was Miss Jane, by reason she'd got the cry 

with her." 

" When the cuckoo comes to the bare thorn, 
Sell your cow and buy your corn." Old Proverb. 

It is very remarkable that this name should be given to 
the whitethorn, as among all Aryan nations this tree is 
associated with the lightning, while the cuckoo is intimately 
connected with the lightning gods, Zeus and Thor. 

CUCKOO-FAIR. Heathfield fair, held on April i4th. The tradi- 
tion in East Sussex is that an old woman goes to Heathfield 
fair, and there lets the cuckoo out of a bag. 

In Worcestershire the saying is that the cuckoo is never 
heard before Tenbury fair (April 2ist), or after Pershore 
fair (June 26th). 

With this may be compared the following German legend, 
given by Grimm in his "Deutsche Mythologie," p. 691: 
"Our Lord was one day passing a baker's shop, when, feeling 
hungry, He sent in one of His disciples to ask for a loaf; 
the baker refused it, but his wife, who with his six daughters 
was standing at a little distance, gave him the loaf secretly, 
for which good deed they were placed in heaven as seven 
stars the Pleiades ; but the bakerwas changed into a cuckoo, 
which sings from St. Tiburtius' Day (April 14) to St. John the 
Baptist's Day (June 24), that is, as long as the seven stars are 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 33 

CUCKOO GATE, m. A gate which shuts upon two posts which 
are connected with curved bars, so constructed that only one 
person can conveniently pass through at a time, and for this 
reason called in Hampshire a kissing-gate. 

CULLS, or CULLERS, m. The inferior sheep of a flock, culled 
from the rest and offered for sale in a lot by themselves. 

CULVER. A pigeon or dove. This name is retained in the 
name of a field at Selmeston, which is called the culver ake 
(the pigeon's oak). 

CURIOUS, e. Unsteady; drunk. 

"Ddant sit so curious when you're swinging, or you'll fall 

Cuss. Surly; shrewish. 


This expression is either simply equivalent to a recom- 
mendation to prepare a staff in readiness for a journey; or 
it may be connected with the old way of reckoning by 
notches or tallies on a stick, and so imply a settlement of 
accounts before departure. 

CUTTY, m. A wren ; also called a kitty. 


DAB. The sea-flounder. 

DALLOP, m. A parcel of tea packed for smuggling, weighing 
from six to sixteen pounds. 

DALLOP. A clumsy, shapeless lump of anything tumbled about 
in the hands. 

DANG, or DANNEL. Substitutions for damn. 

DAPPEN, m. By the time ; or perhaps an abbreviation of " should 
it happen." 

"Dappen I've done this job I'll come and lend yer a 

DARKS, m. A word used by sailors, but more particularly by 
smugglers, to signify those nights when the moon does not 

In former times, everyone in the agricultural districts of 
Sussex within reach of the coast was more or less connected 

34 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect, 

with smuggling. The labourer was always ready to help 
whenever the darks favoured "a run;" the farmer allowed 
his horses to be borrowed from his stable; the parson 
(certainly at Selmeston) expressed no surprise at rinding 
tea and tubs buried in the churchyard vaults; the squire 
asked no questions; the excisemen compounded with the 
smugglers, and when a difficulty arose as to price, and hard 
blows where struck, the doctor bound up the wounds for 
nothing, and made no enquiry as to the dallops of tea or kegs 
of French brandy, which from time to time were found 
mysteriously deposited on his doorstep at daybreak. 

DARLING, or DAWLIN, m. The smallest pig of a litter; an 
unhealthy child. 

DEAD ALIVE. Dull; heavy; stupid. 

DEAD HORSE, e. To work for a dead horse is to labour for wages 
already received, or to work out an old debt. 

DEAL, m. The nipple of a sow. 

DEARED. Deafened. 

"I was amost deared, they made such a noise." 

DEATH, m. Deaf. It is rather startling to be told that a person 
is afflicted with deathness. 

DEE, and TO-DEE. Day, and to-day. 
DEEDY. Clever; industrious. 
DEEDILY, e. Earnestly. 

"You was talking so deedily that I didn't like to interrupt 

DEESE, e. A place where herrings are dried, now more generally 
called a herring-hang, from the fish being hung on sticks to 

DEEVE. Dive. The pronunciation of the i like that of the 
French i is very common in Sussex. 

DENIAL, m. A hindrance. "His deathness is a great denial to 

DENSHER PLOUGH, m. [Devonshire plough?] An instrument 
used for turf-cutting. 

DENTICAL, m. Dainty. 

" My master says that this here Prooshian (query, Persian ?) 
cat what you gave me is a deal too dentical for a poor man's 
cat; he wants one as will catch the meece and keep herself." 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 35 

DEVIL. This word scarcely ought to have a place in a dictionary 
of the Sussex dialect, for the country people are very careful 
indeed to avoid using it. The devil is always spoken of as 
he, with a special emphasis. 

"In the Downs there's a golden calf buried; people know 
very well where it is I could show you the place any day. 
Then why ddant they dig it up? Oh, it is not allowed; he 
would not let them. Has anyone ever tried? Oh, yes, but 
it's never there when you look, he moves it away." 

DEZZICK, m. A day's work. 

"I aint done a dezzick for the last six months." 
DICK. \_Dic, Ang. Sax., a trench.] A ditch. 
DIGHT. \JDihtan, Ang. Sax., to prepare.] To adorn ; to dress. 

"She is gone upstairs to dight-up." 

DIMSEL, e. A piece of stagnant water, larger than a pond and 

smaller than a lake. 
DISH OF TONGUES. A scolding. 

"He'll get a middlin' dish of tongues when his mistus 

comes to hear an't." 

DISHABILL. [Deshabille, French, an undress.] Disorder. 

" My house is not fit for you to come in, for we're all of a 

DISHWASHER. The water-wagtail. 
DISREMEMBER, m. To forget. 

" I can't think of his name; I do disremember things so." 
DISSIGHT, m. An unsightly object. 

DOBBS, or MASTER DOBBS, e. A kind of brownie or house-fairy 
who does all sorts of work for members of the family. 
" Master Dobbs has been helping you," is a common ex- 
pression to use to a person who has done more work than 
was expected. 

DOBBIN. Sea-gravel mixed with sand. 

DODDLE. To wag; tremble; wall; infirmly. 

DODDLISH. Infirm. 

"Old Master Packlebury begins to get very doddlish." 

DODDLEGRASS. Briza media, or quaking grass, called in the 
north "doddering dick." 

DOG, m. An instrument used by thatchers. 

DOGS. Small rests for the logs in the old open hearths, the top 
or ornamental part of which very often had the head of a 
dog on it. 

36 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

DOG-TIRED. Completely wearied out. 

"Oh, master, master, I have watched so long 
That I am dog-weary." 

Taming of the Shrew, Act iv. sc. 2. 

DOLES, m. The short handles on the snethe of a scythe. 

DOLE. [Dael, Ang. Sax., a portion.] Gifts; alms distributed 
on St. Thomas' day. 

DOLING, e. A fishing boat with two masts, each carrying a sprit- 
sail. Described in Boys' History of Sandwich as " Ships 
for the King's use furnished by the Cinque Ports." 

DOLLERS. The people who go round gathering doles. 
DOLPHIN. A fly which attacks the beans. 

DONE-OVER. Tired out; a transposition of over-done, in the 
same way as go-under is always used for undergo. 

DOOLE. A conical lump of earth, about three feet in diameter 
at the base, and about two feet in height, raised to show the 
bounds of parishes or farms on the Downs. 

DOSSES, or DORSELS, e. Panniers in which fish are carried on 

Dour, e. [Do out.] To extinguish the light of a candle. 

DOUTERS. Instruments like snuffers, used for extinguishing a 
candle without cutting the wick. 

DOWELS, e. Levels ; low marshes in which the water lies in winter 
and wet seasons. 

DOWN. Laid up by illness. 

" He's down with a bad attackt of brown crisis on the 
chest, leastways that's what the doctor calls it." 

DOWN-BED. A bed on the floor. 
DOZZLE. A small quantity. 

" He came in so down-hearted that I couldn't be off from 
giving him a dozzle of victuals, and I told him if he could 
put up with a down-bed, he might stop all night." 
DRACLY-MINUTE. Immediately. 

" Ye be to goo dracly-minute." 

" Dame Burden kept five serving maids 
To carry the milking pail, 

* * 

* * * 

'Twas Doll and Bet and Sail and Kate, 
And Dorothy-draggle-tail." 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 37 

DRAINING-SPOON, w. An iron tool used by drainers to take out 
the earth which crumbles down to the bottom of the cutting. 

DRAUGHT. A drawing. 

" There was a gentleman making a draught of the church 
this morning." 

DRAUGHT. 61 Ibs., or a quarter of a pack of wool (240 Ibs.), 
with one pound allowed for the turn of the scale. 

DRAW. A stratagem or device whereby a person is caught or 
drawn as it were into a trap. 

DRAY, or DRAW. A squirrel's nest. 

On St. Andrew's day, November 30, there was in former 
times an annual diversion called squirrel hunting, when 
crowds of people went out into the woods with sticks and 
guns, with which they not only destroyed squirrels, but any- 
thing that came in their way. This custom was kept up in 
Sussex till within the last fifty years, but now, in consequence 
of the inclosure of coppices and more strict preservation of 
game, it is wholly discontinued. 

DREAN, m. A drain. 

DREDGE. A mixture of oats and barley, now very little sown. 

DREDGE, m. \_Droege, Ang. Sax., a drag.] A quantity of bushes, 
chiefly of thorn, bound together and drawn over meadows 
for the purpose of pulverizing dung or mould, called also a 

DRIB. [Dripan, Ang. Sax, to drop.] A very small quantity of 

DRIFTWAY, m. \_Drifan, Ang. Sax., to drive.] A cattle-path to 
water; a way by which sheep or cattle are driven, generally 
a greenway from high ground to low. 

DRINK, m. Medicine for cattle. 

"I gave the old cow a drink last night, and she's up again 
and looking eversmuch better this morning." 

DRINKER ACRE, e. The land set apart on dividing brook-land 
(which was depastured in common) for mowing, to provide 
drink and provisions for the tenants and labourers. 

DRILLATY, m. [Corruption of Dilatory.] 
DROPHANDKERCHIEF. The game of kiss-in-the ring. 

DROVE-ROAD. An unenclosed road through a farm leading to 
different fields. 

DRUGGED, e. Half dried; said of linen, &c. 

38 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

DRUV. Driven. "I wunt be druv" is a favourite maxim with 

Sussex people. 
DRYTHE. {Drugath, Ang. Sax.] Drought. 

"Drythe never yet bred dearth." Sussex Proverb. 

DUBBY, e. Short; blunt. 

"I be dubersome whether she'll ever make a needlewoman, 
her fingers be so dubby." 

DUBERSOME, m. Doubtful. This Anglo-Saxon form of termina- 
tion is not uncommon in Sussex ; we find it in timersome 
for timid, wearisome, and other words. 

DUFF. This word, which is evidently only a variation of dough, 
is used for a pudding made with no other ingredients but 
flour and water; sometimes called hard dick. 

DUFFER, e. A pedlar. This word is applied only to a hawker 
of women's clothes. 

DUMBLEDORE, w. The humble bee. 
DUNCH, w. Deaf; slow of comprehension. 

DUNG-CART RAVES, w. A frame-work fitted on to a cart to 
accommodate an extra load. 

DUNNAMANY, m. I do not know how many. 

"There was a dunnamany people come to see that gurt 
hog of mine when she was took bad, and they all guv it in 
as she was took with the information. We did all as ever 
we could for her. There was a bottle of stuff what I had 
from the doctor, time my leg was so bad, and we took and 
mixed it in with some milk and give it her lew warm, but 
naun as we could give her didn't seem to do her any good." 

DUNNAMUCH, m. I do not know how much. 

"She cost me a dunnamuch for sharps and pollard and one 
thing and t'other." 

DUP, e. To walk quickly. 

"You was dupping along so, I knew you was late." 

DUTCH COUSINS, e. Great friends. This expression is only used 
along the coast. 

"Yes. he and I were reg'lar Dutch cousins; I feels quite 
lost without him." 

DWAIRS, w. Strong cross-bars in the floor of a waggon. The 
one in the centre is called the fore-dwair, the one at the 
back, the hind-dwair. They are also called the cuts. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 39 


EARSH, w. A stubble field ; as a wheat earsh, a barley earsh 
frequently pronounced ash. 

EARTH. To turn up the ground as a mole does. 
EDDEL. [Ang. Sax., ddl, corrupted.] Rotten. 

EELSHEAR, e. An iron instrument with three or four points, 
fastened to the end of a long pole, by means of which it is 
thrust into muddy ponds and ditches for the purpose of 
catching eels. 

E'EN-A'MOST. [Corruption of even almost.] Nearly. 

"'Tis e'en-a'most time you gave over eelshearing for this 

EFFET, m. \_Efete, Ang. Sax.] A newt or eft. Dry efts are those 
found in the earth under hedge banks, and are said by the 
country people to be poisonous. 

EGG. \_Eggian, Ang. Sax., to excite.] To urge on ; to incite. 
ELDERN. Made of elder. (See Ether.) 

ELEVENER, w. A luncheon. In Durham the haymakers and 
reapers call their afternoon meal in the field their "four 

ELLAR and ELLET, e. \_Elam, Ang. Sax.] The elder tree. 

ELLER. The alder tree. 

ELLEM and ELVEN, m. \_Ellm, Sax.] The elm. 

ELLYNGE, m. \_Ellende, Ang. Sax., foreign.] Solitary; far from 
neighbours; uncanny. 

"'Tis a terrible ellynge lonesome old house, and they do 
say as how there's a man walks under them gurt elven trees 
o'nights, but I've never seen him myself." 

END-ON, e. In a great hurry. 

"He went at it end on, as though he meant to finish afore 
he begun." 

ENEW. Enough. 
ERNFUL. Sad; lamentable. 

40 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

ETHER, or EDDER. [Ang. Sax., ether, edor.~\ A hedge. Apiece 
of pliant underwood, wound between the stakes of a new- 
made hedge. 

" An eldern stake and blackthorn ether 
Will make a hedge to last for ever." 

EYED-AND-LIMBED, m. "He eyed and limbed me" means, he 
anathematized my eyes and limbs. 


FAD. A whim. 

FADDY. Fanciful. 

FAG, w. To cut corn or stubble close to the ground. 

FAG-HOOK. A hook or bill fastened on a long stick for trimming 

hedges, or for fagging corn. 
FAGOT, m. A good-for-nothing girl. 
FAGOT-ABOVE-A-LOAD, e. Rather too much of a good thing. 

"Well, I do call it a fagot-above-a-load, to have to go 

down to Mr. Barham's twice a day." 

FAIL. To fall ill ; generally used of catching complaints. 

"He looks to me very much as though he was going to 
fail with the measles." 

FAIRY-RINGS. Circles of grass which are higher, and of a 
deeper green than the grass which grows round them; 
attributed to the dancing of the fairies. 

" Ye elves you demy-puppets, that by moonshine do the green sour 
ringlets make, whereof the ewe not bites." 

Tempest, Act v. sc. I. 

FAIRY-SPARKS, e. Phosphoric light seen on various substances 
in the night-time. 

FALL, m. The autumn. 

"I have the ague every spring and fall." 
FALL. \_Feallan, Ang. Sax.] To cut down timber. 

"These trees are getting too thick, I shall fall a few of 
them next year." 

FAN, e. To banter; to tease. 

"Be not angry, 

Most mighty princess, that I have adventured 
To try your taking of a false report. 

* The love I bear him 

Made me to fan you thus; but the Gods made you, 
Unlike all others, chaffless. Pray you pardon." 

Cymbeline, Act i. sc. 7. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 41 

FANNER, w. A hawk. 

FARISEES. \_Fairieses.~] Fairies. 

By an unfortunate use of the reduplicated plural, the 
Sussex country people confuse the ideas of fairies and 
Pharisees in a most hopeless manner. A belief in fairies is 
by no means extinct in the South Down districts, and among 
other stories the following was most seriously told me, 

"I've heard my feather say, that when he lived over the 
hill, there was a carter that worked on the farm along wid 
him, and no one couldn't think how t'was that this here 
man's horses looked so much better than what any one else's 
did. I've heard my feather say that they was that fat that 
they couldn't scarcely get about; and this here carter he was 
just as much puzzled as what the rest was, so cardinley he 
laid hisself up in the staable one night, to see if he could 
find the meaning an't. 

"And he hadn't been there very long, before these here 
liddle farisees they crep in at the sink hole; in they crep, 
one after another; liddle tiny bits of chaps they was, and 
each an 'em had a liddle sack of corn on his back as much 
as ever he could carry. Well ! in they crep, on they gets, up 
they clims, and there they was, just as busy feeding these 
here horses; and prensley one says to t'other, he says, 
' Puck,' says he, ' I twets, do you twet ?' And thereupon, 
this here carter he jumps up and says, 'Dannel ye,' he 
says, 'I'll make ye twet afore I've done wud ye!' But afore 
he could get anigh 'em they was all gone, every one an 'em. 

"And I've heard my feather say, that from that day forard 
this here carter's horses fell away, till they got that thin and 
poor that he couldn't bear to be seen along wid 'em, so he 
took and went away, for he couldn't abear to see hisself 
no longer; and nobody aint seen him since." 

FAT-HEN. The plant chenopodium album; called also goosefoot. 

FAVOUR, m. To resemble; a resemblance. 

Duke Sen : ' ' I do remember in this shepherd boy some lively touches 
of my daughter's favour. 

Orla : ' ' My Lord, the first time that I ever saw him methought he was 

a brother of your daughter." 

As You Like It, Act v. sc. 4. 

FAY. To prosper; to go on favourably. "It fays well," sounds 
as if it was closely connected with il fait bien. 

PEGS. An exclamation. 

"Why! you are smart, fegs!" 
FESTICAL, e. [Corruption of Festival.] A feast. 

"There ain't agoing to be any school festical to-year." 

42 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

FETCH. A trick; a stratagem; a false appearance. 

"Mere fetches ; 
The images of revolt and flying off." 

King Lear, Act ii. sc. 4. 

FID. To work too hard at anything. In Yorkshire the word foy 
has the same meaning. 

FIGHT. To flog. A standing complaint of parents against a 
school-teacher is " I wants more learning and less fighting." 

FILE. A cunning, deceitful person. 

In the same sense the word is used in speaking of a hare 
running her file. 

FILL-DICK, m. The month of February. 

" February fill the dick, 
Every day white or black." 

Sussex Proverb. 

FIRE-FORK, w. An iron prong for raking ashes out of the oven. 

FIRE-SPANNEL, m. A lazy person, who is always sitting by the 

FIRM, m. A form ; a bench without a back. 

FITCHES. Vetches. 

FITTING, m. Proper; right. 

" I didn't think it was at all fitting that he should call me 
over, and bellick about house same as he did, just because his 
supper wasn't ready dracly minute." 

FITTY. Subject to fits. 

The following extract from the Selmeston parochial 
account-book shows how afflicted persons were dealt with 
in former times, 

" Ladiday, 1790. This is an agreement which is between 
the Churchwardens and Overseers and Parishioners of the 
Parish of Selmeston, in the County of Sussex. 

" The said parishioners do agree that R. Hillman should 
take Jas. Norman at two shillings and sixpence per week so 
long as he continues in the fitty state, but when Mr. Hillman 
shall give it in that he can work well, and equal with other 
boys, he, the said Hillman, will do and keep him, the said 
boy, for as little and little money as any parishioner shall 
think proper." 

FLAKE, e. Cleft wood. 

FLAM, w. A small net used in ferreting to cover the rabbit-holes. 

FLAP, w. A large broad mushroom. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 43 

FLAPPERS, e. Pieces of wood which the fishermen strap over 
their boots when they walk on the shingle. (See Backsters.) 

FLAPPERS. Young wild ducks which have just taken to the wing 
but are unable to fly. 

FLAP JACK. A sort of tart made of apples baked without a pan, 
in a thin piece of paste; also called apple turnover. 

FLASKET, w. \_Fflasget, Welsh, a shallow basket.] A clothes 
basket; a shallow washing tub. 

FLAT, m. A hollow in a field. 

" The water lays so in these flats." 

FLAW, m. To strip bark; to flay. 

" He's got a job of tan-flawing." 

FLECK, m. FLICK, or FLOX. [Flys, Ang. Sax., fleece ; down.] 
The fur of hares or rabbits. 

"A pillowbedde stuffed with fflox." Inventory, 1549. 
"Old Mus Crackshott left two robbuts down at our house 
when he come to fetch his rent o' Saddaday. Purty much 
knocked about they was so my mistus she put 'em into a 
pudden for Sunday, but when we come to set down to dinner 
they'd biled theirselves all away, and all the robbut as we 
could find was fower ounces of duck shot and some liddle 
bits of fleck for flavouring ! and I says to my mistus, I says, 
'If these be Mus Crackshott's robbuts I'd as lief have bren- 

FLEED. \_Fleche, French.] The inside fat of a hog before it is 
melted into lard. 

FLEED-CAKES. Cakes made with fresh fleed : an indispensable 
adjunct to the family festival of pig-killing. 

FLEET, e. To be set afloat. 

A vessel is said to fleet when the tide flows sufficiently to 
enable her to move. 

FLIGHT. To go to flight is to shoot wild ducks or plover at twilight. 
" There was three of our chaps went out t'otherday 
evening purty nigh up as fur as Laughton to flight ; but all 
as ever they brought home along wid 'em was Master Pelts, 
the shoemaker, as had gone up on the quiet two hours afore, 
and laid hisself up along wid a gurt bottle of whiskey; and 
when they got up to the brooks there he was a layin' on his 
back and a hollerin' of hisself hoarse, and shootin' up in 
the air at the rooks a-going over to Furrel, till they was forced 
to take his gun away from him and carry him home." 

44 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 


A bat. 
FLIT, m. Shallow; thin. 

When water is low it is said to be flit ; and land is flit when 

there is only a slight layer of good earth upon it. 

FLIT, e. \_Fkt, Ang. Sax., cream.] A milk skimmer. 

FLIT, e. A bat. A bat coming indoors is considered an evil 


FLIT-MILK. Skim milk. 
FLOG, m. To tire ; to be wearied out. 

" I was fairly flogged by the time I got home." 

FLOUNDERS. Animals found in the livers of rotten sheep ; also 
called flooks. 

FLOUSH-HOLE. {Fluissen, Dutch, to flow fast.] A hole which 
receives the waste water from a mill pond. 

FLOWER. [Corruption of Floor.] 

FLOWN-IN, e. To be overtaken by the tide. 

" You're too oudacious daring on they sands ; if you doant 
mind you'll be flown in, one of these days." 

FLUE. \_Flaauw, Dutch, weak ; feeble.] Delicate; a flue horse 
is one which always looks thin, and will not carry flesh. 

FLUSHY, e. Swampy; as ground after a continuance of wet 

FLUTTERGRUB, m. A man who takes a delight in working about 
in the dirt, and getting into every possible mess. 

FLUX, e. To snatch at anything; to blush. 

FLY GOLDING, e. The ladybird. (See Bishop Barnaby.) 

FOB, e. To froth as beer does. 

FOB, e. The froth of beer; the foam on a horse's mouth. 

FOG, w. Long grass growing in pastures in late summer or 
autumn, not fed down, but allowed to stand through the 

FOLDING-BAR, w. An iron bar used for making the holes in 
which the wattles are fixed for folding the sheep. 

FOLD-TARE, or FOLD-TAIL, m. The improvement of land caused 
by sheep having been folded on it. 

FOOTY. Silly; foolish; worthless. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 45 

FORCED. Obliged. 

"I was forced to putt on my spartacles." 

FORDROUGH, e. A cattle-path to water; a grass ride. 

FORE, m. Front. In Yorkshire the spring is called "the fore- 
end of the year." 

FORE-DOOR, m. The front door. 

FORE-HORSE, m. "He has got the fore-horse by the head" is a 
Sussex expression for "he has got matters well in hand." 

FORECAST, m. Forethought. 

FOREIGNER. A stranger; a person who comes from any other 
county but Sussex. 

At Rye, in East Sussex, that part of the parish which lies 
out of the boundary of the corporation, is called the 
Foreign of Rye. 

I have often heard it said of a woman in this village, who 
comes from Lincolnshire, that "she has got such a good 
notion of work that you'd never find out but what she was 
an Englishwoman, without you was to hear her talk." 

FORERIGHT. Plain spoken; rude; obstinate. 

"I ddant know whatever I shall do with that boy, he's so 
foreright, and he doant seem to have no forecast of nothing." 

FORE-SUMMER, w. The top rail in front of a waggon. The 
corresponding rail at the back is called the hawk. 

FORSTALL, or FOSTEL, m. [Ang. Sax., fore, before; and steal, 
a stall, place, or stead.] The house and home buildings of 
a farm with waste land attached. 

FORNICATE, m. To dawdle ; to waste time. 

FORREP-LAND, w. Used in the manor of Bosham for assart 
land, or land from which the wood or forest has been cut 
down, to bring it into cultivation. 

FOTHER. To feed cattle. 

FOUNDLE, m. Anything found. 

"I picked up a foundle yesterday, as I was coming home 
off the hill." 

FOURTHROWS, or FOURWENTS, e. A place where four roads 
meet. (See Went.) 

FRAIL, m. Flail. 

" Dame Burden kept five serving men 
To use the spade and frail." 


46 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect, 

FRAYEL, m. A flexible basket made of bulrushes, commonly 
used for packing game. 

FRENCHY, e. A foreigner of any country who cannot speak 
English, the nationality being added or not, as the case 
seems to require; thus an old fisherman, giving an account 
of a Swedish vessel which was wrecked on the coast a year 
or two ago, finished by saying that he thought the French 
Frenchys, take 'em all in all, were better than the Swedish 
Frenchys, for he could make out what they were driving at, 
but he was all at sea with the others. 

FRESH, m. Home-brewed small beer, which must be drunk 
while new or fresh. 

FRESH, e. To decorate ; to renew. 

"I freshed up my bonnet with those ribbons you gave me." 

FRESH, e. Fresh air. 

"It feels very close to you coming in out of the fresh, but 
Jane she's had her fevers all day, and I dursn't set the 
the window open to let in any fresh, for I was afraid 'twould 
give her cold." 

FRESH. Not quite drunk, but rather noisy. 
FRIT, e. Frightened. 

"I was quite frit to see him so near the water." 

FRITH, e. Young underwood ; brushwood growing by the side 

of hedges. 
FRORE, w. Frozen. Spenser uses frorne in the same sense. 

FROSTBECK, w. A strong handbill for cutting up turnips when 
they are frozen. 

FROUDEN, m; or FROUGHT, w. Frightened. 

I met an elderly man one evening going through the 
churchyard ; it was too dark to see who he was, and I passed 
without speaking. To my surprise he stopped and began 
shouting as loud as he could; and recognising his voice, I 
went back to ask him what was the matter. "Oh dear me, 
sir!" he said, "is that you? I didn't know it was you, sir, 
I'm sure I beg your pardon." It was in vain that I enquired 
why he was making such a dreadful noise ; no answer could 
I get, beyond that he didn't know who it was. So I wished 
him good night and went on, under the impression that he 
was drunk ; but the matter was explained by his turning back 
to say, "I beg your pardon, sir, but I hope you doant think 
I was frouden! Bless me, no! I was noways frouden, not 
at all ! I'm a man as aint easily frouden at meeting anyone 
in the churchyard after dark," 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 47 

FURLONG. A division of tenantry land. 

FURNAGE, w. A sum formerly paid by the tenants of the lord 
of the manor for right to bake in his oven. 

FUTTICE, e. A weazel. 


GABERDINE, m. A loose frock still worn in Sussex by farm 

"My best way is to creep under his gaberdine." 

Tempest, Act ii. sc. 2. 

GAFFER, m. Abbreviation of grandfather. 

GAFFER, m. A master. 

"Gaffer has given me a holiday." 

GAGY, e. Showery. 

GALLEYBIRD, or GALLOWSBIRD. The woodpecker. 

GALORE.* In abundance. This old Celtic word is still in 
common use in Scotland and Ireland. 

GALLOWS. To die under the gallows is said to be the fate of a 
person who dies of overwork. 

GAMBLING, e. \_Gamen, Ang. Sax., a game.] Romping about. 
GAMMER, m. Abbreviation of grandmother. 
GANSE, e. Merriment; hilarity. 

GANSING-GAY, e. Cheerful; lively. 

" Some people said the children would always be inter- 
rupting of us if we went to live so near the school, but for 
my part I likes to hear them, their voices is so gansing gay 
its quite company to me." 

GAP, m. \_Geapu, Ang. Sax., a space.] An opening through the 
chalk cliffs on the Southdowns leading to the sea, as Birling 
Gap, Copperas Gap, &c.; also called a gut. 

GAPE SEED." Something to stare at. A person staring out of 
window is said to be sowing gape seed. 

GARATWIST.* Altogether on one side. 

48 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

GARRETING, w. Small pieces of flint stuck in the mortar courses 
in building. 

GASKIN, e. [Gascony.] A kind of cherry largely grown in the 
neighbourhood of Rye, which is called indifferently "geen" 
or "gaskin," having been brought from France by Joan of Kent 
when her husband, the Black Prince, was commanding in 
Guienne and Gascony. 

In olden days a Lord of Berkeley finding housekeeping 
too costly, agreed with the widow of a Kentish nobleman 
for lodging and maintenance of himself, his wife, her two 
waiting women, six serving men, and horses for the whole 
party at /^oo a year, but he died before the year was out 
of eating too many gaskins. 

GATE, w. A farmyard. 

GAUNT, e. \_Geanian, Ang. Sax.] To yawn. 

GAY-GROUND, e. A flower garden. 

"I likes to have a bit of gayground under the window for 
a look out." 

GAZELS, e. \_Groseiller, a currant tree.] All kinds of berries, but 
especially black currants. 

Gazel tea is a favourite remedy for a cold. 

GEAT. \Geat, Ang. Sax., a gate.] The Anglo-Saxon form of 
the word is always used for gate in Sussex. 

GEE, m. To get on well with a person. 

"We've lived up agin one another for a good many years, 
and we've always geed together very nicely." 

GEEMENY, m. [Corruption of O Gemini !] 

"Geemeny! you do mean to be spicy." 

GEEN, e. {Guienne, French.] (See Gaskin.) 

GEE-WOOT. An expression used by waggoners to make the lead- 
ing horse go to the off side; to the shaft horse the word for 
the same purpose is hoot. 

GENERALLY- ALWAYS, m. A superlative form of generally. 

" My master generally-always comes home none the better 
for what he's had of a Saddaday night." 

GENTLEMAN, m. A person who does not earn his own living. 
Anyone who is disabled from work. The term is sometimes 
applied to a sick woman, or even to a horse. 

"I'm sure I've done all I could for mother; if she isn't a 
gentleman I should like to know who is!" 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 49 

GIFTS. White specks which appear on the finger nails, supposed 
to indicate the arrival of a present. 

"A gift on the thumb, is sure to come; 
A gift on the finger is sure to linger." 

GIFTY, w. \_Giftig, Dutch.] Unwholesome ; poisonous. 

"The house smelt quite gifty-like." 
GIGGLESOME. Given to giggle. 
GIMSY, e. Smartly dressed. 
GIVE-IN. To state an opinion. 

"Master Cockleshaw he gives it in that we shall have a 
change of weather before many days." 
GIVE-OVER. Leave off. 

"You just give over messing-about among my cabbages." 

GLINCY. \Glincer, Old French, to slide.] Smooth; slippery; 
applied to ice. 

GLUM. \_Glom, Ang. Sax., gloom.] Gloomy. 

"The weather looks very glum this morning." 

GNANG, e. \_Gnagan, Ang. Sax., to gpaw.] To gnash the teeth. 
GOAD, w. Any long stick. Pronounced goad. 

GOBBET. \_Gobet, French, a hasty meal.] A large mouthful of 
anything; a lump. 

" Meet I an infant of the house of York, 
Into as many gobbets will I cut it, 
As wild Medea young Absyrtus did." 

II Henry VI., Act v. sc. 2. 
GOLD CUP. The meadow ranunculus. 

GOLE. \_Gole, Old French, the gullet.] A wooden drain pipe. 
In the north of England the word is used for a small stream. 

GOODEN, or GOODENING. The custom of going from house to 
house for doles on St. Thomas's day (2 ist December). This 
was done by women only, and a widow had a right to a 
double dole; the presumed object being to obtain money or 
provisions for the enjoyment of the approaching festival of 
GOODMAN. An old title of address to the master of the house. 

I find the following entries in a book of accounts of the 
parish of Selmeston, 

1745, December y 6 22. 

" Goodman Gasson, 

payd fower men for Caning John Gasson to the ground oo .. 04 .. oo 
payd Tho. Jurden for buring John Gasson . . . . oo .. 02 .. 06 
payd for laying John Gasson foarth and one shilling for 

ather Daved " (affidavit) . . oo .. 03 .. oo 

50 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

GOODY. The title of an elderly widow. 

Expences for the yeare 1743 : 

Payd Goody Gorge for washing and mending her suns 
cloath and Goody Pumphery 6 pence 01 .. oo .. 06 

GOSSIP, e. [GobstU, Ang. Sax., a sponsor.] This word is still 
used, though very rarely, by old people. 

"They've brought a child to be christened, but they 
haven't got no gossips." 
GO-UNDER. Undergo. 

" The doctor says he must go to the hospital and go under 
an operation." 

GRABBY, e. Grimy; filthy; dirty. 

GRAFF, or GRAFFING-TOOL, m. \_Grafan, Ang. Sax., to dig.] 
A curved spade, generally made of wood shod with iron, 
used by drainers. 

GRANDFATHER, m. A daddy-long-legs. 
GRATTEN, m. A stubble field. 

GRATTEN. \_Gratter, French, to scratch.] To scratch for the 

grain that may be left on the grattens. 

" By the time the pigs have been grattening for a week 

they'll look eversmuch better." 
GREW, e. A greyhound. 

GREYBEARDS, m. Earthen jugs formerly used in public-houses 
for beer, and so called from having on them the face of a 
man with a large beard. 

GREYBIRD, m. The thrush. 

GRIB, e. Variation of grip. A sharp bite. 

GRIDGEN, m. Grudging; stingy. 

"If he has anything given him, he's that gridgen that 
he'll never give away naun an't." 

GRIG, e. Merry; happy. 

"Master Harry he's always so grig." 

GRIP. \_Groep, Ang. Sax.] A small ditch or drain. 

GRIZZLE, m. To fret; to grieve. 

"I know the child aint well, because she's been grizzling 
about so all day, and she's never one to grizzle when she's 

GROM, e. {Grommeler, Dutch, to wallow.] Dirty; to soil or 
make dirty. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 51 

GROOM, m. An instrument used by thatchers for carrying bundles 
of straw. 

GROUT-HEADED. Stupidly noisy. 

GRUBBY, e. To make in a mess. 

"You've grubbied your pinney," means "you have dirtied 
your pinafore." 

GRUMMUT. An awkward boy. 

Mr. M. A. Lower states that this word is a corruption of 
the old French, gromet, a diminutive of groom ; the cabin- 
boy of the Cinque Ports navy was so called. The con- 
dition of the distinguished immunities of those ancient 
corporations was, that they should provide for the King's 
use a certain number of ships, and in each ship twenty-one 
men, with one boy, called a gromet "et in qualibit nave 
xxi. homines, cum uno garcione qui dicitur gromet" 

Suss. Arch. Coll. vol. xiii. p. 217. 

GRYST. [Grist, Ang. Sax., a grinding.] A week's allowance of 
flour for a family. 

GUBBER, e. Black mud. 

GUDGE, m. To probe. 

"The doctor came and vaccinated our baby yesterday; 
nasty man ! he just did gudge his poor little arm about." 

GUESS-SHEEP, m. Young ewes that have been with the ram and 
had no lambs ; so called because it is doubtful or a matter 
of guess whether they will ever have lambs. 

GULL, w. To sweep away by force of running water; a breach 
made by a torrent. 

GULL. A gosling. 

GULL, m. The blossom of the willow; called in Cambridge- 
shire goslins. 

GUMMUT. A lout ; a stupid fellow. (See Grummut.) 
GUMPTIOUS, e. Smart; tawdry. 

GUN, m. To examine carefully; to con over. 

"When I gunned her over a little closer, I soon saw that 
she was too gumptious by half to be a lady." 

GURGISE, w. A fish-pool ; lake, or pond. 
GURT. [Corruption of Great.] 

GUT, m. {Gjota, Icel.; Gota, Ang. Sax., a pourer.] An under- 
ground drain for water. 

52 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

GUTTERDICK, m. A small drain. 

"'Taint no use at all for you to make that 'ere gutterdick, 
what you wants is a gurt gut." 

GYLE. A brewing of beer. 


HABERN, w. The back of the grate. 

"Why, whatever have you been a-doing with yourself? 
Your face is as black as a habern !" 

HACK. To cough faintly and frequently. 
HACK, w. To rake up hay into thin rows. 
HACKER, m. To stutter and stammer. 

HACK-HOOK, m. \Haccan, Ang. Sax., to cut.] A curved hook 
with a long handle, used for cutting peas and tares, or trim- 
ming hedges. 

HACKLE, m. \_Hcecele, Ang. Sax., a garment.] A straw covering 
placed over beehives. 

HAFFER, or HARPER. A heifer. 

"I leave to Jane, my wife's daughter, an haffer of 2 yerys 
age." Will of Thos. Donet, of Bumuash, 1542. 

HAGRIDDEN, m. To be hagridden is to have the nightmare. 

HAGTRACK, m. Circles of coarse green grass seen on the 
meadows and downs, supposed to be tracks of hags or 
witches who have danced there at night. 

HAITCH, e. A slight passing shower. 
HAITCHY, e. Misty. 

HALF-BAPTIZED. Privately baptized. 

"If you please, Sir, will you be so good as to half-baptize 
the baby?" "Oh! certainly; but which half of him am I to 
baptize ?" 

HALF-BAPTIZED, e. Silly, foolish. 

"You must have been half-baptized to water those flowers 
when the sun was full on them." 

HALF-HAMMER, w. The game of hcp-step-and-jump. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 53 

HALF-SWING PLOUGH, w. A plough in which the mould-board 
is a fixture. 

HAM. [Ang. Sax., ham; German, heim; English, home.'] A 
level pasture field ; a plot of ground near a river. 

"In the country of the Angles as well as here (in North 
Friesland) every enclosed place is called a hamm." 

Outzeris Glossary of the Frisian Language, p. 113. 

HAMPERY, m. [Possibly from empire, French, decayed.] Out 
of repair. 

HAMWOOD, w. \_Hame-wood.~] Pieces of wood on the collar of 
a horse to which the traces are fixed. 

HAND, m. To be a hand, is to cause a great deal of trouble. 

"I was a terrible hand to mother all the time I was down 
with the titus-fever." 

HANDLE-DISH, m. A bowl with a handle. 

HANGER, m. A hanging wood on a hill side. 

HANSEL, m; or HACKLE, e. To use anything for the first time. 

HANSEL, m. \_Handsylen, Ang. Sax., a giving into the hands.] 
The first money received in the morning for the sale of goods. 
The market women have a custom of kissing the first coin, 
spitting on it, and putting it in a pocket by itself for luck. 

HAP, m. Perhaps. 

HAPPEN-ALONG, m. To come by chance ; to arrive unexpectedly. 
"Master Tumptops, he's a man as you'll notice mostly 
happens-along about anyone's dinner-time." 

HAPS, m. [Haps, Ang. Sax.] Hasp of a door or box. 
HARD-DICK. Sussex pudding, made of flour and water only. 

HARNESS, m. Temper; humour. 

" Master's in purty good harness this morning." 

HAROLD. A common Christian name in East Sussex, which is 
always pronounced the same as the word earl. 

HASSOCK, e. [Possibly from Haso, Ang. Sax., dry; rugged.] 
Anything growing in a thick matted state. A thick wooded 
shaw or little wood. 

HATCH, m. To sicken for any complaint. 

"I think she's hatching the measles." This expression 
seems to correspond very closely with that used by physicians 
when they speak of the period of incubation. 

54 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

HATCH, m. To dress the bark of trees. 

HATCH. In names of places probably means a gate. 

It is usually found on the borders of forests, as Coleman's 
Hatch, Flaw-hatch and Claw-hatch, in Ashdown forest. 

HATCH, w. A gate; a half-door. 

HATCHEL, w. To rake cut grass into small rows. 

HAULM. \Healm, Ang. Sax.] The straw of beans, peas, tares, &c. 

HAUST, m. A place for drying hops. (See Oast-house.) 

HAVE, m. To lead or take. 

" I shall have him down to his grandmother while I go 

HAVILER, or HEAVER, e. \Heafer, Ang. Sax.] A crab. 
HAWK, w. (See Fore-summer.) 

HAYWARD, w. [Haw-ward; hedge-ward.] An officer of the 
lord of the manor, whose business it was to look after the 
hedges and see that the boundaries were kept right. 

HEAD, m. "To your head" is the same as "to your face." 

" I told him to his head that I wouldn't have such goings- 
on in my house any more." 

" To the head of Angelo accuse him home and home." 

Measure for Measure, Act iv. sc. 2. 

HEAD-ACHE, e. The corn poppy. Papaver rhaas. 
HEADLANDS, m. The part of the field close against the hedges. 

HEADPIECE, m. The head considered with regard to the intellect. 
" He's got a very good headpiece, and if he could have 
had a little more schooling he'd have made something better 
than a ploughboy." 

HEAL, m. \_Helan, Ang. Sax., to cover or conceal.] To cover. 
" I healed up the roots with some straw." 
" In the ancient English dialect the word ' hell' was taken 
in a large sense for the general receptacle of all souls what- 
soever, and it is so used in the old translation of the Psalms 
in our Common Prayer Book (Ps. Ixxxix. 47), which sense 
may be confirmed from the primary and original signification 
of the word ; according to which it imports no more than an 
invisible and hidden place, being derived from the old Saxon 
word 'hil,' which signifies to hide, or from the participle 
thereof, helled, that is to say, hidden or covered; as in the 
western parts of England, at this very day, to 'Me' over any- 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 55 

thing, signifies, amongst the common people, to cover it, 
and he that covereth an house with tile or slate is called an 
'hellier? whence it appears that the word 'hell' according to 
its primitive notion, exactly answers to the Greek 'hades' 
which signifies the common mansion of departed souls, and 
was so called because it is an unseen place." 

Lord Chancellor King on the Apostle's Creed, pp. 233, 193, 194 
Ed. Lond. 1702. 

HEALED. \_Hyldan, Ang. Sax., to incline.] When a ship goes 
over to one side she is said to have healed over. 

HEALING, m. A coverlet; a counterpane. 

In the will of Rev. H. Marshall, he leaves "2 pillowberes 
and a healing." 

HEART, m. Condition ; said of ground. 

"I've got my garden into pretty good heart at last, and if 
so be as there warnt quite so many sparrs and greybirds and 
roberts and one thing and t'other, I dunno but what I might 
get a tidy lot of sass. But there! taint no use what ye do 
as long as there's so much varmint about." 

HEAVE-GATE, m. \Hefan and geat, Ang. Sax.] A low gate, so 
constructed as to lift out from the posts, instead of opening 
with hinges. 

HEDGE-HOG. Venus' comb. Scandix pecten-veneris. 
HEDGE-PICK, or HEDGE-MIKE, m. The hedge sparrow. 

HEEN, m. \_Hczn, Ang. Sax.] A hen. 

"Ithrowed a stone at a liddle hedge-pick a settin' on the 

heave-geat, and killed Mrs. Pankurstes' gurt old packled 

HEGGLING. Vexatious; trying; wearisome. 

HEIRS." Young timber trees. 

HELP, m. To give anything into a person's hands. 

"I will help the letter to him if you'll write a few lines." 

HELVE, e. To gossip. 
HELVE, e. A long gossip. 

HEM, m. Very. 

" Hem crusty old chap our shepherd is, surelye! I says 
to him yesterday, I says, ' 'Tis hem bad weather, shepherd/ 
I says. 'Ah,' says he, "tis better than no weather at all;' 
and hem-a-bit would he say any more." 

HEM-A-BIT, m. Not a bit ; certainly not. 

56 . A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialed. 

HEMMEL, e. A fold. Connected with the Icelandic word hemja, 

to restrain. 
HENRIP, w. A hen-coop. 

HERE-AND-THERE-ONE. An expression used to signify an 
average, or on an average, as " He aint much of a boy I 
know, but he's quite as good a boy as you'll find here-and- 

HIDE. \Hyd, Ang. Sax.] A hide of land is about 120 acres. 
In Saxon times it meant as much land as could be tilled with 
one plough ; a family possession. 

HIGGLER, m. A huckster ; so called from higgling over his 

HIKE, m. To call roughly. 

" He hiked me out of the pew." 

HILL, m. The Southdown country is always spoken of as " The 
hill " by the people in the Weald. 
" He's gone to the hill, harvesting." 

HILL-UP, m. \_Helan, Ang. Sax., to cover.] To hill-up hops is 
to raise small hills or heaps over the roots for the purpose of 
keeping them dry in the winter. 

HISN, m. His own. 

The possessive pronoun is thus conjugated in Sussex, 
Mine, thine, hisn or hern. 
Ourn, yourn, theirn. 
HITHER, m. Near. 

"He's in the hither croft." 

HOBBLE, m. A doubt ; an uncertainty. 
HOB-LAMB, m. A pet lamb, brought up by hand. 

HOB-UP. To bring up anything by hand. 

A parishioner of mine once came to complain to me that 
her husband had threatened to ill-use her on account of two 
little pigs which she was hobbing-up ; but as I found that 
his objection rested on the fact that she was hobbing-up the 
pigs so carefully that she insisted on taking them to bed 
with her, I declined to interfere. 

HOCKLANDS. [Hoh, Ang. Sax., a heel.] Hock-shaped pieces of 
meadow land. Leo's Ang. Sax. Names. 

HOCK-MONDAY, w. The second Monday after Easter, kept as a 
festival in remembrance of the defeat of the Danes in King 
Ethelred's time. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 57 

HOE, w. Fuss ; anxiety. 

"I ddant see as you've any call to putt yourself in no such 
terrible gurt hoe over it." 

HOGARVES, m. Hog-gazels; hawthorn berries. 

HOG-FORM, w. A bench on which pigs are laid to be killed and 

On the knuckle of a pig's fore-leg there are always six 
marks, about the size of a pea, which are believed to have 
been caused by the devil's fingers when he entered the herd 
of swine. 

HOGGET, w. A young sheep, just more than a year old. 

HOG- JET, w. A small bucket, fastened into a long handle, by 
which the food is taken out of the hog-tub. 

HOGO.* \JHaut gout, French.] A strong foul smell. 

HOGPOUND, m. The pigstye ; a favourite rendezvous on 

"Ah*! many's the time as we've stood over the hog-pound 
together, and looked 'em over, and rackoned 'em up, whiles 
people was in church; little did he think as he'd be putt in 
before that hog was killed! and he always allowed she'd 
weigh sixty stun." 

HOLL, e. To hurl ; to throw. 
HOLLARDS.* Dead branches of trees. 

HOLP, m. \_Healp, Ang. Sax.] The perfect of help. 

"She had me round to the pound, to see a little hogget 
what she'd hobbed-up; and then she had me indoors and 
holp me to a cup of tea and some honey-bread." 

HOLT, m. \Holt, Ang. Sax., a grove.] A small plantation. 

HOLT. A hold. 

"'Tis just like a lawyer, if once it takes a holt 'an ye, ye 
doant very easy get free agin." 

HOLT, m. [Corruption of Halt.] A call always used to stop a 

HOLY-SUNDAY, e. Easter-day. 

There is a tradition that the sun always dances on the 
morning of Holy-Sunday, but nobody has even seen it 
because the devil is so cunning that he always puts a hill in 
the way to hide it. 

58 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

HOME-DWELLERS, m. People accustomed to live in houses, as 

opposed to tramps. 

" A good many of these people who've come harvesting 

this year, look like home-dwellers." 
HONEY-BREAD. Bread and honey. 
HOOKE, or HOOK. {Hoc, Ang. Sax., a hook.] A name given to 

several places in Sussex. 
HOP-DOG, m. A caterpillar peculiar to the hop gardens. 

HOP-DOG, m. An instrument used to draw the hop-poles out of 
the ground, for the purpose of carrying them to the bin to 
be picked. 

HOP-HORSE, e. A short ladder used by the hop-pickers. 

HOP-MAND, w. [Mond, Ang. Sax., a basket.] A vessel used in 

HORN-FAIR, m. Rough music with frying pans, horns, &c., 
generally reserved for persons whose matrimonial difficulties 
have attracted the attention of their neighbours. The fair 
annually held in Charlton, Kent (now abolished), was always 
known as Horn fair. 

HORNICLE, w. A hornet. 

HORSEBEACH, or HusBEECH, w. The hornbeam. 

HORSE-DAISY, w. The ox-eye daisy. Chrysanthemum leucan- 

HOSTE, e. Described by Durrant Cooper as "A vendor of 
articles out of shops or houses," so used at Hastings. From 
the old French word Hoste, which meant both a host and a 

This word is used in the second sense, a guest, a person 
allowed to come, a stranger. 

"Every person not lotting or shotting to the common 
charge of the Corporation, who should be a common hoste in 
the fish market." Hastings Corporation Records, 1604. 

HOT, m. To warm up. 

"I was that cold when I got indoors that gaffer hotted up 
some beer for me." 

HOTAGOE.* To move nimbly ; spoken of the tongue. 
HOT-CHILLS, m. The fever that accompanies the ague. 

HOTH, m. Hawth. The name of Hoathly seems connected with 
this word. 

"'Tis very poor ground, it wont grow naun but heath and 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 59 

HOT-POT, m. Hot ale and spirits. 

HOUNDS, w. The part of a wagon to which the fore-wheels 
and shafts are attached. 

HOUSED, e. When hops have a great deal of bine, and the 
poles are thickly covered over the top, so as almost to shut 
out the light and sun, they are said to be "housed." 

HOUSEL, OT. Household goods. 

"Whose housel is that up on the wagon ?" 

HOVELER, e. A pilot. 

HOVELERS, e. Men who go out to sea in boats for the purpose 
of meeting homeward-bound vessels, and engaging with the 
captain to unload them when they enter the harbour. 

HOVER, m. Light; spoken of the ground or soil. 

HOVER, m. Looking cold and shivery. 

"Some of the children looked middlin' hover as they 
went along to school this morning through the snow." 

HOVER, m. To hover hops is to measure them lightly into the 

HOWK, e. To dig. Possibly connected with the Dutch word 
houwen, to hew. 

HOWLERS, w. Boys who in former times went round wassailing 
the orchards. A custom now nearly obsolete. 

The custom of wassailing used to be observed on the eve 
of the Epiphany, when the howlers went to the orchards, and 
there encircling one of the best bearing trees, drank the 
following toast, 

"Here's to thee, old apple tree, 
May'st thou bud, may'st thou blow, 
May'st thou bear apples enow ! 
Hats full ! Caps fuU ! 
Bushel, bushel, sacks full ! 
And my pockets full, too ! Huzza !" 

The wassailers derived their name from the Anglo-Saxon 
salutation on pledging one to drink, which was woes heel, be 
of health ; to which the person pledged replied drinc heel, I 
drink your health. 

HOWSUMDEVER, m. However. 

Hox, w. To cut the hamstrings ; to cut the sinew of a rabbit's 
leg and put the other foot through, in order to hang it up. 

60 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

HUCK, e. The pod of a pea. 

Children get the pods and cry to each other, 
" Pea-pod bucks, 
Twenty for a pin ; 
If you doant like 'em 
I'll take 'em back agin." 

HUCK, <?. A hard blow or knock rudely given. 
HUCK, e. To spread anything about, such as manure. 

HUCKLE-BONE, e. The small bone found in the joint of the 
knee of a sheep, used by children for playing the game of 

Dr. Clarke, in his travels in Russia, 1810, vol. i., p. 177, 
says, "In all the villages and towns from Moscow to Woronetz, 
as in other parts of Russia, are seen boys, girls, and some- 
times old men, playing with the joint bones of sheep. This 
game is called dibbs by the English. It is of very remote 
antiquity ; for I have seen it very beautifully represented on 
Grecian vases, particularly on a vase in the collection of 
the late Sir William Hamilton, where a female figure 
appeared most gracefully delineated kneeling upon one knee, 
with her right arm extended, the palm downwards, and the 
bones ranged along the back of her hand and arm; a second 
is in the act of throwing up the bones in order to catch 
them. In this manner the Russians play the game." 

HUCKLE-MY-BUFF, e. A beverage composed of beer, eggs and 

HUCKMUCK, w. A wicker strainer used in brewing. 
HUFF, e. To scold or take to task. 
HUFFY, e. Liable to take offence. 
HUGGER-MUGGER, m. In disorder; without system. 

"We have done but greenly in hugger-mugger to inter him." 

Hamlet, Act iv. sc. 5. 
HULL, e. To throw. (See Holl.) 

HULL, m. \_Hulze, Dutch, a shell of a pea; a case.] The husk 
or chaff of corn; the shell of a nut; the pod of peas. 

HULL, w. To shell peas; to strip off the outside covering of 

HUMBLE-COW, e. A cow without horns. 
HUNCH, m. A nudge. 

"I thought they were sweethearts, because I see him give 
her a hunch in church with his elbow." 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 61 

HUNG-UP, m. Hindered. 

"I was so hung up for time all last week I couldn't come." 
HURLEY-BULLOO, m. A disturbance. 

HURR, m. Tart; rough-tasting. 

"The doctor's ordered me to drink some of this here 
claret wine, but I shall never get to like it, it seems so hurr." 

HURST, m. \_Hurst, Ang. Sax.] A wood. 
HURTS, w. Whortle berries. 

Huss, m. To hiss ; to buzz ; said of insects. 

"The old owl I fancy did huss and spet when I went to 
take the eggs! and just did scratch a gurt plaace in my 
harnd wud he's old to-a-nails, too." 

Huss, e. To caress. 

The children play a game, which is accompanied by a 
song beginning, 

" Hussing and bussing will not do, 
But go to the gate, knock and ring, 
Please, Mrs. Brown, is Nellie witMn ? " 

HussER-AND-ScjUENCHER, e. A pot of beer with a dram of gin 
in it. (See Squench.) 

HYPOCRITE, e. A lame person. 

This word may be possibly connected with, or a corruption 
of the old word hippand, meaning limping or hopping. 

"Yes, she's a poor afflicted creature; she's quite a hypo- 
crite; she can't walk a step without her stilts." 


ICE-BONE. The edge-bone of beef. 

ICHON'EM. Each one of them. 

IDGET, w. A horse hoe ; called also a nidget or edget. 

ILL-CONDITIONED, m. Ill-tempered. 

" He's the most ill-conditioned impersome young chap I 
know; a proper out-and-outener." 

ILL-CONVENIENT, m. Inconvenient. 
IMPERSOME, e. Impertinent. 


62 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

IN, w. [Innian, Ang. Sax., to take in.] To inclose land. 
"I inned that piece of land from the common." 
An Anglo-Saxon estate was usually divided into two parts; 
one of which, called the inland, was occupied by the pro- 
prietor with his establishment; and the other, called the 
utland, was ceded to the servants in return for rent and 
service, as a reward for their assistance, or as the means of 
support to those who were not freed-men. 

IN, w. To house corn. 

"The corn was all inned before Michaelmas-day." 

ING. \_Ing, Ang. Sax.] A common pasture or meadow. 

INGENURIOUS, e. Ingenious. 

"For my part I consider that King Solomon was a very 
ingenurious man." 

INK-HORN, m. Inkstand. 

"Fetch me down de inkhorn, mistus; I be g'wine to putt 
my harnd to dis here partition to Parliament. 'Tis agin de 
Romans, mistus; for if so be as de Romans gets de upper 
harnd an us, we shall be burnded, and bloodshedded, and 
have our Bibles took away from us, and dere'll be a hem set 

INNARDLY, m. Inaudibly; inwardly. 

"This new parson of ours says his words so innardly." 

INNOCENT, m. Small and pretty. Generally applied to flowers. 

INNINGS, w. Land that has been enclosed from the sea. 

(See In.) 
INTERRUPT, m. To attack. 

This word is used to express all kinds and degrees of 

ITEM.* A hint. 

INWARD, m. Silent; reserved. 

"I can't abear going to work along ud Master Meopham, 
he be so inward." 

INWARDS. Intestines. 

A story is told in the neighbourhood of Rye of an old 
man who informed the clergyman after he had been preach- 
ing about veracity, that he thought his a capital good sermon, 
but he did not know what he meant by saying so much 
about the innards of a hog. 

Ix. [Ex, Ang. Sax., an axis.] An axle tree. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 63 


JACK-HEARN, m. A heron; always spoken of as "a gurt old 

"Parham Park, in West Sussex, can still boast of one of 
the most interesting heronries in the south of England." 
Knox's Ornithological Rambles in Sussex. 

JACK-IN-THE-HEDGE, e. Lychnis diurna. 
JACK-IN-PRISON, e. Nigella damascena. 

JACK-UP, m. To give up anything in a bad temper. 

A man came to my house by himself one Christmas Eve 
to sing carols, and at the end of each line he stopped to 
explain why the other singers were absent. He began, 

" While Shepherds watched their flocks by night." 
"If you please, sir, my party's all jacked up" 
"All seated on the ground" 

"Yes, sir, there was young Harry down here, and my brother 
Jem, and Tom and George, we've all been a practising 
together, and now they're properly jacked up" (and so on to 
the end of the hymn). 

JACKET, m. To flog. 

"I'll jacket him when he comes in." 

JACKETTING, m. A hard day's work. 
JAMBREADS, m. Slices of jam and bread. 

JAUNCE, e. A weary journey. 

"I doant justly know how far it is to Hellingly, but you'll 
have a middlin' jaunce before you get there." 

JANUARY-BUTTER, e. Mud. It is considered lucky to bring mud 
into the house in January. 

JAWLED-OUT, w. Excessively fatigued. 

JIB, e. The under-lip. To hang the jib, is to look cross. 

JIGGER-PUMP, e. A pump used in breweries to force the beer 
into the vats. 

JOHNNY, m. " Old Johnny" is one of the numerous names given 
to the ague. 

"Old Johnny has been running his finger down my back." 

64 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

A spider is considered a useful insect for the cure of the 
ague. If taken internally, it should be rolled up in a cobweb 
and swallowed like a pill. If applied externally, it should be 
placed in a nutshell and hung round the neck in a bag of 
black silk. The ague generally hangs about Sussex people 
a long time. 

JOINT-STEDDLE, or JOINT-STOOL, w. A stool framed by joinery 
work, so called in distinction from stools rudely formed of 
a single block. 

"Away with the joint-stools, remove the court-cupboard." 

Romeo and Juliet, Act i. sc. 5. 

JORAM, m. A capacious bowl or goblet; called in Norfolk a 

JOSSING-BLOCK, e. A block by which a rider mounts his horse, 
often seen at the gate of a country churchyard in Sussex. 

JOSS-UP, e. To mount a horse. 

"Ah! she josses up like- a feather, she doant want no 
jossing-block nor chair either." 

JOSTLE, m. To cheat. 

JOUND, m. Joined. 

"I jound in with them up at Burwash Wheel, and they 
jostled me out of ninepence." 

JOY. A jay. 

"Poor old Master Crockham, he's in terrible order, surelye ! 
The meece have taken his peas, and the joys have got at his 
beans, and the snags have spilt all his lettuce." 

JOURNEY, m. [Journee, French.] A day's work. This word is 
spelt in old parochial account-books jorney, but in such MSS. 
the spelling seems to have depended upon the taste or caprice 
of the writer. 

JUB, e. To move slowly arid heavily, like a sluggish horse. 
JUB, e. A slow trot. 

JUG. A nickname given to the men of Brighton. 
JUMPING-BETTY, e. Impatient balsamina. 


"She's a capital good girl to work, she can jump round 
and hang by nothing, I can tell you." 

JUMP-UP-AND-KISS-ME, m. The pansy. Viola tricolor. 
JUNE-BUG, m. The green beetle. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 65 

JUSTABOUT, m. Certainly ; extremely. 

" I justabout did enjoy myself up at the Cristial Palace 
on the Foresters' day, but there was a terr'ble gurt crowd; I 
should think there must have been two or three hundred 
people a-scrouging about." 

JUST-BEAST, or JOIST-BEAST, ?. A beast taken in to graze. 

This word is probably a corruption of agist-beast. Agist- 
ment was the feeding of cattle in a common pasture at a 
fixed price. In the year 1531 the agistment of a horse for 
the summer cost 33. 4d. 

JUSTLY, m. Exactly. 

"I doant justly know how old I be, but I knows I be above 
sixty years of age ; for ye see I went to work when I was 
somewhere' s about nine years old (that was in old Mus 
Ridge's time), and I kep on till I was somewheres about 
fower-and-twenty; and then a young woman got me into 
trouble, and I was forced to goo away to sea; but I didn't 
hold to that above six or seven years, and then I come home 
and got drawed for the Militia and sarved ten year, and then 
volunteered for a sodger and sarved my time fifteen years ; 
and then I corned back to the farm, and theje I've worked 
for fower-and-farty year, till I got quite entirely eat up with 
the rheumattics, and now I aint done naun for these last ten 
years, and sometimes they be better than what they be 
othersome ; so I knows I be above sixty year old, though I 
doant justly know how old I be." 


KEBLOCK, w. The wild turnip. 
KEDDLE-NETS. Stake nets. 

KEELER, m. \_Coelan, Ang. Sax., to cool.] A shallow tub used 
for cooling beer. 

KELL, m. \_Cyl, Welsh.] A kiln. 

"I've been quite out of kelter ever sen I've lived up aside 
of the lime-kells; the reek's enough to choke one other- 

KELLICK, w. A romp. 

KELTER, m. Condition. "This farm seems in very good kelter." 

66 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

KEN, m. [Corruption of Kin.] 

KERF, w. [Ang. Sax., ceorfan, to cut; cyrf, a cutting.] The cut 

made by a saw; a notch. 

KETTLE, w. A swelling; a dark lump found in suet or pork. 
KETTLY, w. Full of kettles or kernels. 

KEVELING, m. The name given at Brighton to the skate; at 

Hastings the fish is called "a maid," and at Dover "a 

KEX, e. The dry hollow stalk of hogweed, cow parsley, and 

other umbelliferae. 
KICKEL, e. \_Cicel, Ang. Sax.] A sort of flat cake, with sugar 

and currants strewn on the top. 

KID, e. A small wooden tub. 

KID, w. The pod of peas or beans. 

KIDDLE, e. To entice; to coax. 

KIDDLE, e. \_Citelian, Ang. Sax., to tickle.] To tickle. 

"Those thunderbugs did kiddle me so that I couldn't keep 
still no hows." 

KIDDLE, w. Delicate. 

KILK, m. Charlock, sinapis arvensis, a weed with a yellow flower 
which grows among the corn. 

The employment of children at kilk-pulling is a serious 
obstacle to education in the agricultural districts. 

KIME, m. A weazel. 

A lady who had been giving a lesson to a Sunday school 
class upon Pharoah's dreams, was startled to find that all 
the boys supposed that the fat and lean kine were weazels. 

KIMMELL, m. A tub used for salting meat. 

KIND, m. Fat; doing well, said of beasts. 

KINK, m. [Kink, Dutch, a twist in a rope.] To twist; entangle. 

KISSING-GATE, w. The same as a cuckoo-gate. 

KISS-ME, e. The wild heartsease. Viola tricolor. 

KIVER, w. A large shallow tub. 

KNAP. [Cnap, Ang. Sax., top.] The top of a hill, or any piece 
of rising ground. 

KNETTAR, e; or, KNITTLE, w. \Cnittan, Ang. Sax., to knit.] A 
string fastened to the mouth of a sack to tie it with. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 67 

KNOW, m. Used as a substantive for knowledge. 

" Poor fellow, he has got no know whatsumdever, but his 
sister's a nice knowledgeable girl." 

KNOWLEDGEABLE, e. Well-educated. 

KNUCKER. \Hnagan, Ang. Sax.] To neigh or whinny. 


LADDER-TYING. Fastening the upper branches of the hop-plant 
to the pole, which is reached by women standing on ladders. 

LADES. [Ladan, Ang. Sax., to load.] Rails which project round 
the top of a waggon to enable it to bear a greater load. 

LADSLOVE. Southernwood. 

LADYCOW. The ladybird. 

It is held extremely unlucky to kill a cricket, a ladybird, 
a swallow, martin, robin redbreast, or wren. 

LADY'S-SMOCK. Convolvulus sepium. The bindweed of the 

LAG, or LEG, w. A long narrow marshy meadow, usually by the 
side of a stream. 

LAINES. Open tracts of arable land at the foot of the Downs. 
LAMBSTONGUE. Plantago media. 

This word seems to admit of three degrees of comparison, 
which are indicated by the accentuation, thus, 
Positive Lamentable, as usually pronounced. 
Comparative Larmentable. 
Superlative Larmentaable. 

"Master Chucks he says to me says he, "tis larmentable 
purty weather, Master Crockham.' ' Larmentaable !' says I." 

LANSCOT, or LANDSCOTE. The assessment of lands for the main- 
tenance of the church. Now obsolete. 

LAND, m. Low ground, especially arable land, as distinguished 
from the hill, used in the Southdown country. 

LAPSY. Lazy ; slow ; indifferent. 

LARDER. A gamekeeper's larder is the place where he nails up 
the weazles, stoats and vermin which he kills. 

68 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

LARDER, m. [Corruption of Ladder.] 

"Master's got a lodge down on the land yonder, and as I was 
going across totherday-morning to fetch a larder we keeps 
there, a lawyer catched holt 'an me and scratched my face." 

LASH, m. To get into a passion. 

"He makes me lash and swear otherwhile when he be so 
lapsy; soonasever I'm backturned he's off after the birds- 
nestes, or up to some game or another." 

LAST, e. A last of herrings is ten thousand. 

LAST, e. A court of twenty-four jurats who levy rates for 
keeping up the marshes. 

LASUS. A water meadow. 

LATS. \_Latta, Ang. Sax.] Laths. 

LATTIN, w. Plate-tin. Spelt lattyn in an inventory dated 1 549, 
but in that year people spelt as they pleased. 

LAURENCE. A mysterious individual whose influence is sup- 
posed to produce indolence. "Old Laurence has got hold 
of me" means "I have got a fit of idleness." 

LAVANT, w. [Lafian, Ang. Sax., to sprinkle with water; or, 
Laver, French, to wash.] A violent flow of water. 

"How it did rain! It ran down the street in a lavant." 

LAWYER, e. A long bramble full of thorns, so called because, 
"When once they gets a holt an ye, ye ddant easy get shut 
of 'em." 

LAY, m; or LEY. \_Leag, Ang. Sax.] Land laid down for 
pasture ; not permanently, but to be broken up every three or 
four years. 

LAYLOCK, m. The lilac tree. 

LAY-UP, m. To hide and lie in wait for any one. 

LEAN, m. Unprofitable. 

"Ah, sir! stone-breaking's a lean job for those that aint 
used to it." 

LEAN-TO, m. A shed constructed against the side of another 

LEAP, e. [Leap, Ang. Sax., a basket for catching fish.] A large 
deep basket. 

LEAP, e. Half-a-bushel. (See Seed-leap.) 
LEAR. Thin; hungry; faint. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 69 

LEARN. To teach. 

"I'll lay-up for him one of these nights and leather him 
middlin' if I catches him; I'll learn him how to steal my 
apples, letbehow'twill." 

LEASE, m. To glean. 

LEASE-WHEAT, m. The ears of corn picked up by the gleaners. 

LEAST. [Loestan, Ang. Sax.] To last. 

" I've picked up a little leasewheat, but that wont least 
very long ; leastways not above a week or two." 

LEASTWAYS. [Leastwise.] At least. 
LEATHER. To flog. 

LEAZE, m. The right of feed for a bullock or sheep on a 

LEETLE. [Diminutive of Little.] 

"I never see one of these here gurt men there's s'much 
talk about in the peapers, only once, and that was up at 
Smiffle Show adunnamany years agoo. Prime minister, they 
told me he was, up at Lunnon; a leetle, lear, miserable, 
skinny-looking chap as ever I see. 'Why,' I says, 'we 
ddant count our minister to be much, but he's a deal primer- 
looking than what yourn be.' " 

LENT. A loan. 

"I thank you for the lent of your horse." 

LETBEHOW'TWILL, m. An expression always pronounced as one 
word, meaning, let the consequences be what they may; 
abbreviated in West Sussex into behowtel. 

LEW. [Hleowth, Ang. Sax., warmth.] Sheltered from the wind. 

"My garden is nice and lew." 
LEWTH. Shelter. 

"You wont find but very little lewth on the hill." 

LIBBET, e. A stick used to knock down fruit from the trees. 

When throwing at cocks was a fashionable sport, the stick 
which was thrown had lead let in at the end, and was called 
a libbet. 

"The old custom of throwing at cocks on Shrove Tuesday 
is said to date from the fact of the crowing of a cock having 
prevented our Saxon ancestors from massacreing their con- 
querors, another part of our ancestors, the Danes, on the 
morning of a Shrove Tuesday, when they were asleep in their 
beds." Brand's Popular Antiquities. 

70 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

LIDDS, m. Large open fields. 

LIGHTING. For lightning. 

"There was a good deal of lighting last night." 

LIKE. This word added to adjectives somewhat qualifies the 
force of their meaning. 

"She seems so melancholy-like" means "she seems 
rather melancholy." 

LINK. \Hlinc, Ang. Sax., a ridge of land.] A word used in the 
Southdowns for a green wooded bank, always on the side 
of a hill between two pieces of cultivated land. 

LIONS MOUTH, w. Ground ivy. Glecoma hederacea. 

LIP. [See Leap.] A wooden box of a peculiar shape, which is 
carried by the seedsman when sowing. 

LIPPY, m. Impertinent; apt to answer saucily. 

LIST, m. To leak. 

"That new lean-to of yourn is a poor temporary thing; I 
reckon it wont least long, for the water lists through the roof 

LITHER, e. Idle. 

LITHER. Supple; lithy; pliable. 

LITTEN. [Lictun, Sax.] A churchyard. 

LITTER, m. Loose straw or anything thrown into a farmyard for 
cattle to lie upon and tread into manure. 

LIVE, e. Real. 

"She thinks she looks like a lady, but no one would take 
her for a live lady." 

LIVERSICK. A hangnail on the finger. 
LIZENED. Lean ; shrunk, as applied to corn. 
LOANST. A loan. 

" Will you lend mother the loanst of a little tea." 
LOCH/ The rut of a cart-wheel. 

LODE/ [Ldd, Ang. Sax., a way; a canal.] A drift- way, or cut 
for water; a ford. 

LODGE, m. An outhouse; a shed. 

" I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren." 

Much Ado About Nothing, Act ii. sc. I. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 7 1 

LODGE. [Logian, Ang. Sax.] To alight or fall on anything so 
as to remain there. 

"My ball has lodged up on the window-sill." 

LODGED. Corn or grass beaten down by wind and rain is said 
to be lodged. 

" We'll make foul weather with despised tears; 
Our sighs, and they, shall lodge the summer corn, 
And make a dearth in this revolting land." 

Richard //., Act iii. sc. 3. 

LONESOME. Lonely ; far from neighbours. 
LONG-DOG, m. A greyhound. 

LONG-PURPLES. The flowers of orchis mascula. 

" And long purples, 
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name." 

Hamlet, Act iv. sc. 7. 

LOOKER, e. \_L6cian, Ang. Sax., to look.] A shepherd or 
herdsman; a man employed to look after cattle in the 

LOOK-OUT, <?. To open. Said of a window. 

"It's no manner of use your trying; the window wont look 
out, for there was such a terr'ble big draught come in that 
father he took and made it fast." 

LOPE-OFF. To go away in a secret, sly manner (probably 
connected with the word elope). 

"The old dog was round here just now, but he must have 
loped off somewhere, he's gone off along with the shepherd 
very like." 

LORDINGS, e. The best kind of fagots. The branches and 
tops taken off the wood which is being cut for hop-poles. 

LOURDY.* \_Lourd, French, dull.] Heavy; sluggish. 

LURRY, e. A rapid, indistinct mode of reading. 

LURRY, e. To hurry over work in a careless, slovenly manner. 

LUSTY, m. Fat; in good order. 

"You look as though what you've had sen' you was here 
last has done you good, you be got quite lusty!" 

LUTON. A projection from a house, such as a bow window. 

72 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialed. 


MAD. Enraged. 

"Ah! he just will be mad if he comes to hear an't." 

MAID, e. This word is still sometimes used for children of both 
sexes who are too young to work. 

"Words not a few were once applied to both sexes alike 
which are now restricted to the female, it is so even with 
girl, which once meant a young person of either sex." 

Archbishop Trench, "English Past and English Present." 

MAKE OR MEND, e. To interfere. 

" He must go his own way, I'm not a-going to make or 
mend any more." 

MALT-STIRRER, w. A stick with sort of lattice work at the end, 
used for stirring the malt in brewing. 

MANNERED, m. A meadow abounding in sweet grasses is said 
to be good mannered. 

"You wunt have such a very out-de-way gurt swarth, but 
'tis countable purty mannered stuff, I call it." 

MARCHET, w. " Every widow holding by her bench is bound 
by the custom of the manor to pay unto the lord of the 
said manor, at the time of her next marriage after she is 
first a widow, her best beast of any manner of quick cattle, 
for and in the name of a Marchant, otherwise called a 
Marchet." Customs of the Manor of Bosham. 

MARE, w. A shallow lake. 

MARESTAILS. Streaky white clouds, said to indicate wind. 

MARTIN, e. When a cow has two calves, one of which is a male 
and the other a female, the latter is called a free-martin, 
and it is supposed that she will always be barren. 

MARVEL. Hoarhound. 

MASK. Completely covered with anything, but generally mud 
or blood. 

"Why! you're one mask! Wherever have you been ?" 
"The boys shoved me into the masoner's mortar mixen." 

MASONER, m. A bricklayer. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 73 

MASTER. (Pronounced Mass.) The distinctive title of a 
married labourer. 

A single man will be called by his Christian name all his 
life long; but a married man, young or old, is "Master" 
even to his most intimate friend and fellow workmen, as 
long as he can earn his own livelihood; but as soon as he 
becomes past work he turns into "the old gentleman," 
leaving the bread-winner to rank as master of the household. 

"Master" is quite a distinct title from "Mr.," which is 
always pronounced Mus, thus, 
Mus Smith is the employer. 
Master Smith is the man he employs. 

MASTER. The old custom of the wife speaking of her husband 
as her "master" still lingers among elderly people; but 
both the word and the reasonableness of its use are rapidly 
disappearing in the present generation. 

It may be mentioned here that they say in Sussex that the 
rosemary will never blossom except where "the mistus" is 

MASTERFUL. Overbearing. 

MAUND. \_Mand, Ang. Sax., a basket.] A hand basket with two 

MAUNDER, e. [Maudire, French, to curse.] To mutter or 

MAUNDER. To wander about thoughtfully. 

MAVIN.* The margin. 

MAWKIN, w. A scarecrow. 

MAXON, m. \_Meox, Ang. Sax., dung.] A manure heap. 

MAY-BE and MAYHAP. Perhaps. 

"May be you knows Mass Pilbeam? No! do'ant ye? 
Well, he was a very sing'lar marn was Mass Pilbeam, a very 
sing'lar marn! He says to he's mistus one day, he says, 'tis 
a long time, says he, sence I've took a holiday so cardenly, 
nex marnin' he laid abed till purty nigh seven o'clock, and 
then he brackfustes, and then he goos down to the shop 
and buys fower ounces of barca, and he sets hisself down on 
the maxon, and there he set, and there he smoked and 
smoked and smoked all the whole day long, for, says he, 'tis a 
long time sence I've had a holiday! Ah, he was a very 
sing'lar marn a very sing'lar marn indeed." 

MAY-BUG, m. Cockchafer. 

74 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

MAY- WEED, m. Anthemis cotula. 

MEAD. [Moed, Ang. Sax.] Still used for meadow. 

MEAL. [Mae I, Ang. Sax., a fixed portion.] The quantity of milk 
taken from the cow at one milking. 

MEECE, m. Mice. 

"The meece just have tarrified my peas." 
Among other Sussex remedies it is said that a mouse 
roasted alive is good for the whooping-cough. Whether it 
is really good for the whooping cough or not I cannot say, 
but I am sure that it must be bad for the mouse. 

MEND, m. To spread out manure (amendment) over a field. 

MERESMAN, m. A parish officer who attends to the roads, 
bridges and water-courses. 

MERSC. [Mersc, Ang. Sax.] A marsh. 

MESH, m. The Southdown folk always speak of Pevensey level 
as The Mesh. 

"I went down to Pemsey last week, and walked out on The 
Mesh. Beautiful place, surelye! No hills, no trees, nor 
nothing to interrupt the view." 

MESSENGERS. Large white flying' clouds, indicating rough 

MEUSE, w. A hole through a hedge made by a rabbit or hare ; 

an old French sporting term. 

MEW. \_Meu, Ang. Sax.] A seagull. 

MIDDLING. This word has many different meanings which are 
expressed by the tone of voice in which it is said. 

It may mean very much, as, "He lashed out middlin', I 
can tell ye ! " 

Or it may mean tolerably well, as, "I ddant know but 
what she made out purty middlin'." 

Or it may mean very bad, as, " How did the wedding go 
off?' 'Middling, thank you, sir.' 'What, only middling! 
wasn't it all right?' 'Why, no sir, not quite, for you see the 
parson he entirely forgot all about it, and he'd gone away, 
so we was forced to wait in church two hours.' " 

MIDGE. [Mycg, Ang. Sax., a gnat.] All gnats are called midges 
in Sussex. 

MIFF. To give slight offence ; to displease. 

MILE-STONES. The churches in the Downs are called Sussex 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 75 

MILEMAS, m. [Corruption of Michaelmas.] 
MILKMAIDS, e. The flowers of the convolvulus septum. 
MIND, m. [Mynan, Ang. Sax.] To remember. 

"I minds him well, he was along here last Milemas." 
MINNIS, e. A piece of rising ground. 

One of the rocks on the East Hill, at Hastings, is called 
The Minnis Rock. In Kent the word is used for a high 
MINTS. The mites in cheese, meal or flour. 

MINTY. Full of mites. 
MISAGIFT.* Misgiven; mistaken. 

MISAGREE, m. To disagree. 

"I ddant see how anyone can be off from misagreeing 
with these here people next door, for the old man's that 
miserable that he wont lend nothing to nobody, and the 
children be that mischieful that one doant know where to be 
for 'em." 

MISCHIEFUL, m. Full of mischief. 

MISERABLE, m. Miserly ; stingy. 

MISHEROON. \_Mousseron, French.] A mushroom. 

MISLIKE. [Mislician, Ang. Sax.] To dislike. 

"My lord of Winchester, I know your mind; 
'Tis not my speeches that you do mislike, 
But 'tis my presence that doth trouble you." 

II Henry VI., Act i. sc. I. 

Miss. Abbreviation of mistress. The title of a married woman ; 
single ladies being addressed as Mrs. 

MISTUS. Is the usual pronunciation of mistress. 

It is very difficult to say at what age a Sussex man's wife 
ceases to be his misius and becomes the old 'ooman, and 
finally lapses (probably in her second childhood) into the old 

MISWORD, m. A cross, angry, or abusive word. 

" I am sure my master's never given me a misword all the 
years we've been married." 

MIXEN. [Mixen, Ang. Sax.] A heap of mixed manure. 

MIZMAZE. Confusion. 

" He came upon me so quick, and axed me so suddent, 
I was all of a mizmaze," 

76 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

MOAK. {Max, masc, Ang. Sax., a mesh, a noose.] The mesh 
of a net. 

"Ordered, that no fisherman of the town should fish with 
any trawl net whereof the moak holdeth not five inches 
size throughout." Hastings Corporation Records, 1604. 

MOCK-BEGGAR-HALL. A house which has an inviting external 
aspect, but within is poor and bare, dirty and disappointing. 
A farm near Rye bears this name. 

MOIL. Trouble; vexation. 

MOLE PLOUGH, w. A draining plough. 

MOMMICK, m; or MAMMICK. To cut or carve awkwardly or un- 

" Whether his fall enraged him, or how 'twas, he did so set his 
teeth and tear it ; O, I warrant how he mammocked it ! " 

Coriolanus, Act i. sc. 3. 
MONEY-PURSE. A purse. 

MONGER. [Mangere, Ang. Sax., a dealer.] A man who has any- 
thing for sale. 

A field at Selmeston is called The Monger's Plot. 
MOONSHINE. Smuggled spirits. 

MOONSHINER. A beast that will not fat; a diseased beast that 
has to be driven off to the butcher's yard by night. 

MORGAN. May-weed. Anthemis cotula. 

MORE. As big-more, or as long-more, means as big again, or as 
long again. 

"'Tis as fur more from here to Hellingly as what it is from 
here to Hailsham." 

MORT. [Icel., Mart, neuter of margr, many.] A great many. 

"Yes, I've got a mort of children, but there's not one that's 
bringing in anything." 

MORTACIOUS. Mortal; very. 

"My old sow's mortacious bad, surelye ! " 
MORTAL. A term of reproach. 

"What a young mortal that is ; he's always at something ! " 
MOSEY. Musty; soft; woolly. 
MOST-IN-GINRAL, m. Generally. 

" I most-in-ginral goos to church, but I goos to chapel other- 
while when 'tis so slubby." 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 77 

MOTHER, <?. To take care of. 

"I do'antmind mothering the dog for you for a week or two." 

MOTHERING. The service for the churching of women. 

It is considered most unlucky fora woman after giving birth 
to a child to cross the high-road, or to pay a visit before she 
has been to church to return thanks. 

Lupton, in his first book of notable things, ed. 1660, p. 49, 
says: "If a man be the first that a woman meets after she 
comes out of the Church, when she is newly churched, it 
signifies that her next child will be a boy ; if she meets a 
woman, then a wench is likely to be her next child. This is 
credibly reported to me to be true." 

MOTHERING-PEW. The pew reserved for women who desire to 
be churched. 

It is on record that an elderly maiden lady once found 
her way by accident into the mothering pew in a strange 
church, and joined devoutly in the service, which included 
that appointed for the churching of women, but did not dis- 
cover that she had herself been churched till the clerk 
handed her the alms-dish for her offering. 

MOTHER-WO. A contraction of "come hither wilt thou." A 
carter's call to his horse. 

MOTHERY. Mouldy; generally applied to liquor which has 
become thick and incrusted. 

MOWBURNED, m. Hay which has fermented in the stack. 

MUCK, m. To hurry; to overwork. 

"She's mucking about from morning to night." 

MUCKED-UP. All in confusion. 

"I doant know as you'll find a seat, for we be all so 
mucked-up this morning." 

MUCK-GRUBBER. A sordid miser. The sort of man who would 
search in the dung-heap or any filthy place for the sake of 

MUCK-OUT. To clean thoroughly. 

"I doant think that old house has been properly mucked- 
out for the last ten years." 

MUDDLE-ABOUT. To do a little work. 

"I'm ever so much better, and I shouldn't wonder but 
what I shall be able to muddle about in a day or two." 

MUDGELLY." Broken, as straw is by being trodden by cattle. 
F 2 

78 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

MUM-CHANCE, m. A stupid, silent fellow. 

MUSH, e. A marsh. 

"He's a stupid mumchance chap; seems as though he d 

lived all his time down in the mush and never spoken to 

Music. Any musical instrument. 


NABBLE, m. To chatter; to gossip; to idle about. 

NABBLER. A gossip. 

NAIL. A weight of eight pounds. 

"The hog weighed twelve nails." 

NAPERY, w. \Nappe, French, a table cloth.] Linen, but 
especially table linen. 

NARRE, w. {Knorren, Dutch, to growl.] To growl like a dog. 

NATIVE. Birthplace ; native place. Used as a substantive. 

"Heathfield is my native. I was borned at the cottage just 
beyond the pay-gate where there's postes beside the road." 

NAUGHTY-MAN'S-PLAYTHING. Stinging nettle. Urtica dioica. 
NAUN, m. Nothing. 

NAUN-BUT. Only; answering to the northern expression 

"I should have gone to Lewes market naunbut I hadn't 
got naun to take there." 

NEAR, m. Stingy. 

NEAT. Exact; full; said of measurements, as "Tis ten rod 
neat, no more nor no less." 

NEB, e. \_Neb, Ang. Sax., the bill or beak.] The pole of an ox- 
cart, or timber tug, so called from its shape. 

NEB, m. The handle of a scythe. 
NEIGHBOUR-TOGETHER. To be good friends. 
NEIGHBOUR'S-FARE, e. The same bad luck. 

"We've got neighbour's fare, for we've neither of us got 
an umbrella." 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 79 

NESTLE. To be restless. 

NESTLE-ABOUT, m. To work about a little in and out of the 

"I aint done naun but just nestle about house for the last 
three weeks, and I be quite nett-up this weather." 

NETTLE-SPRING. The nettle-rash. 
NETT-UP. Exhausted with cold. 

NEWS. To tell anything as news, 
"It was newsed about." 

NEXDY. [Contraction of next day.] The day after to-morrow. 

Ni, w. \_Nid, French, a nest; spelt ni in old French.] A brood 
of pheasants. 

NIDGET, e. A little bug. 

NIDGET. A horse-hoe used for cleaning the ground between 
rows of hops, called in some parts of East Sussex an idget. 

NIFF. To quarrel ; to be offended. 

NIP, e. A stingy fellow; a close and sharp bargainer; just 
honest and no more. 

NIPPER, m. A common nickname for the youngest member of 
the family, or for one who is unusually small for his age. 

NOD. The back of the neck. 

"It catched me right across the nod of my neck." 

NOGGING. Courses of bricks worked in between a frame of wood 
work in a building. 

NOHOWS, m. In no way. Often expanded into "no-hows-de- 
wurreld," for no how in the world. 

NONCE, w. Purpose; intent; design. 

" I have cases of buckram for the nonce, to immask our noted out- 
ward garments." I Henry IV., Act i. sc. 2. 

NON-PLUSH. [Non-plus.] Completely bewildered. 

NO-ONE- WHERES. Superlative form of nowhere. 

"I shouldn't have been no ways consarned about it, 
naunbut my mistus she took on so; she was quite non- 
plushed she was, for she couldn't find that young nipper no- 

NO-OUGHT, m. "You had no-ought" is the same "as you ought 

80 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

NORATE, m. [Corruption of Orate; as nidget, from idget.] To 
talk officiously and fussily about other people's business. 

"Master Norman he got nabbling over it, so it very soon 
got norated about all down the street." 

NORATION. An unnecessary publication of any piece of news 
or a secret. 

"You have no-ought to have made such a noration about 
nothing, for you warn't no-ways consarned." 

NOSE-HOLES. Nostrils. 

NOT, w. \Hnot, Ang. Sax., shorn, cut.] Polled ; said of sheep 
or cows without horns. 

"Mus' Stapley he's been and bought some more of these 
here not-cows. I can't fancy them things no-hows-de- 

NOTCH. A run at cricket; so called from the custom in the 
country districts of reckoning the runs by notches cut in a 

NOTTABLE, m. [Notable, French, remarkable.] Thrifty; indus- 

Mr. Lower says that this word is never applied in Sussex 
to a man. 

"Mrs. Allbones she be a nottable 'ooman, surelye!" 
NOVER, e. High land above a precipitous bank. 
NO-WAYS. In no way. 

NOW-AND-AGIN. Sometimes. 

"I goos across the nover now-and-agin, but I mostly 
keeps to the road, for 'tis terrble nubbly for walking." 

NUBBLY, <?. In lumps ; full of small clods. 
NUNTING, e. Awkward looking. 
NUNTY, e. Dressed in a shabby or old-fashioned way. 
NUNTY, m. Sulky. 

"Ye be middlin' nunty this marnin' seemingly; I ddant 
know naun what's putt ye out." 

NURT, w. To nurture; to train or bring up a child. 
NURT, m. To entice; to allure. 

"He got linked-in with some chaps as wasn't no good, 
and they nurted him away, and he never come back nuther." 

NUTHER. [Corruption of Neither.] 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 81 


OAST-HAIR. A hair sieve used in oast-houses. 

OAST-HOUSE. A place for drying hops. 

With respect to the origin of this word, Mr. Durrant 
Cooper gives the following explanation, 

"As hops were introduced into England from Flanders, 
probably persons who understood the culture and cure of 
the article were brought with them; hence the word heuse, 
a house, was applied by these foreigners to the building 
where the hops were dried ; subsequently heuse was corrupted 
into haust, or oast, and the word house very improperly 
appended by those who did not know the import of the 
Original." Sussex Glossary, pp. 63-64. 

I think, however, that Rev. J. C. Egerton, of Burwash, 
has got nearer to the true derivation of the word. He 
informs me that, in Dutch, August is called oogst-maand, 
the harvest month, and tracing a connexion between 
oogst and oast, he is of opinion that oast-house is nothing 
more than oost-haus, the harvest-house, and that a close 
similitude may be found in the words August, aout, oogst 
and oast. 

With respect to this suggestion, Rev. W. W. Skeat 
considers that oogst is more likely to be connected with the 
Latin, Augustus, and that the meaning of harvest is quite 
secondary. He is of opinion that oost in oast-house is a 
mere corruption or dialectic variation of the Dutch eest, a 
drying kiln. 

OBEDIENCE. [Obeisance.] A bow or a curtsey. 
OCKLANDS, m. (See Hocklands.) 
OILS, w. The beards of barley. 

OLD CLEM. A figure dressed up with a wig and beard and pipe, 
and set up ever the door of the inn where the blacksmiths 
held their feast in honour of their patron Saint on St. 
Clement's da/ (23rd November). 

OLD-FATHER, m. The person who gives away the bride at her 

Among the labouring classes in Sussex it is not the custom 
for the bride to be accompanied to church by her father. 
The bridal procession is very simple, and consists usually of 

82 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

four persons only the bride and bridegroom, the bridesmaid, 
and the old father, who is usually the sweetheart of the 
bridesmaid if she is a single woman (which is not necessarily 
the case). 

I was once marrying a shepherd who had arrayed himself 
in a very tight pair of white kid gloves; and suggested 
before the service began that he had better remove the glove 
from his right hand. " What ! " he exclaimed, " Must I have 
her off? Then if she takes as long to come off as she did 
to putt on, we shan't get this here job over to-day." 

OLD-MAN'S-NIGHTCAP. Convolvulus septum. 

ONE, e. To be at one, is to be consistent and determined. 

ONE. To be one, is to be good friends; to be at two, is to 


OOD, m. [Corruption of Wood.] 
OPEN, m. Not spayed ; said of a sow. 
ORATION. A fuss, not necessarily expressed by words. 

"He makes such an oration about anything." 
ORDER, m. Bad temper. 

"He's in middlin' order, I can tell ye." 
ORE, e. Seaweeds washed on shore by the tides. 
ORNARY. [Corruption of Ordinary.] Inferior; unwell. 

ORTS, m. Odds and ends ; fragments of broken victuals. 
"The fractions of her faith, orts of her love, 
The fragments, scraps, the bits, and greasy reliques, 
Of her o'er eaten faith, are bound to Diomed." 

Troi'lus and Cressida, Act v. sc. 2. 
OTHERSOME. Some other. 

" Sometimes my old gal's better than what she be other- 
some, but she be hem ornary again to-dee." 

OTHERWHERES. Some other place. 

"The King hath sent me otherwhere." 

King Henry VIII., Act ii. sc. 2. 
OTHERWHILE. Sometimes; occasionally. 

"I has a horn of beer otherwhile, but never nothing to do 
me no hurt." 

OUGHT, m. [See No-ought.] 
OURN. Ours. 

OUT-ASKED, or OUT-OF-ASK. To have had the banns published 
three times. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 83 

OUT-BOUNDERS, w. A word used in old parochial account books 

for ratepayers who pay rates in a parish where they do not 


OUT-STAND. To stand out against; to oppose and overcome. 
"He wanted to have the calf for three pound ten, but I 

out-stood him upon that, for all that he was so set and 


OUT-DE-WAY, m. [Corruption of out of the way.] 

"I never did see such tedious out-de-way larmentable poor 
ground in all my borns." 

OVEN-RAKE, e, \_0fenraca, Ang. Sax.] A rake for clearing the 
ashes aside in a brick oven. 

OVEN-SLICE, w. An iron shovel for taking the ashes out of the 

OVER, e. To cross over. 

"You must over the bridge and keep straight on a-head." 
OVERGET, e. To overtake. 
OWLET, m. A moth. 

OX-STEDDLE, m. Stabling or stalls for oxen. 

Oxen are still used as draught-beasts; the Sussex breed 
being specially useful for the purpose. A team of eight oxen 
drawing a load is not an unusual sight in East Sussex, 
though it is not seen so frequentlyas it was twenty years ago. 

OX-TIGHTS, w. Chains for use with oxen. 


PACKLED, m. Speckled. 

PADDLE, m. To trample about in the wet and dirt. 

PAINFUL. Painstaking. 

There is an inscription on a brass in Selmeston Church, 
dated 1639, which commences thus, 

The body of Henry Rogers, 

A painfull preacher in this church 

Two and thirty yeeres. 

PAIR-OF-BARS, w. Rails made to lift out of the sockets, so as 
to admit of a cart passing through ; called in East Sussex a 

84 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

PALLANT. [Palent, Ang. Sax., a palace.] The Pallant is a dis- 
trict of Chichester opening from the West-street. 

Murray says "It forms a miniature Chichester with its 
own four streets, and is the palatinate, or Archbishop's 

PALM. The bloom of the willow, which is worn on Palm 
In Kent yew-trees are always called palms. 

PANNAGE, m. The mast of the oak and beech on which swine 
feed in the woods. 

A copyhold right to these existed in one of the manors 
of Brighton. 

PANDLE, m. A shrimp. Also used in Kent. 

PARGET. [Old English pariet, a wall; derived from the Latin 

paries. ,] To plaster with cement; especially to plaster the 

inside of a chimney with cement made of cow-dung and 

PARLY. [Parler, French, to talk.] To talk French, or to talk 


A fisherman said, " I can make shift to parly a bit myself, 

but deuce-a-bit can I make out when the Frenchies begins 

to parly me." 
A maid servant being asked who was with her master, 

answered that she didn't rightly know, but she knew he 

was a Parly- German! 

PARSON-ROOK. A Royston-crow. 

This species has obtained the specific name given by the 
Romans to some bird of the crow kind, deemed of unlucky 
omen sinistra cornix. 

PARTIAL. To be partial to anything, means, to like it; generally 
in the sense of relishing. 

"I be very partial to a few pandles." 

PARTICULAR, m. To look particular, is to look unwell. 

"He's been looking very particular for some time past." 
PASSEL, m. [Corruption of Parcel.] 

PASTIME, m. [Pass and time.] This word is used according to 
its original acceptation, not so much to express amusement, 
as occupation for the mind. 

"I likes evening school, 'tis such a pastime; but there's 
a passel of chaps that comes and do'ant want to learn naun 
themselves, and wunt let any one else." 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 85 

PASSTIME, m. Time passed. 

"He mustn't expect to get well all in a minute. I tell him 
there's no passtime for that yet." 

PAT. A hog-trough. 

PATHERY. Silly; applied to sheep which have the water on the 

PATTENS AND CLOGS, e. Lotus corniculatus. Also called pigs' - 
pettitoes, and ladies' fingers. 

PAUL. [Pal, Ang. Sax., a stake.] A division of tenantry land 
at Brighton, usually containing about the eighth part of a 
tenantry acre. 

PAY-GATE. A turnpike gate. 

PEAKED, m. [Pique, French.] Fretful; unwell. 
"Weary seven nights, nine times nine, 
Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine." 

Macbeth, Act i. sc. 3. 

PEASHALM. \_Healm, Ang. Sax., stubble.] Pea-straw. 
PECK. A pick-axe. 

PECK. To use a pick-axe. 

These words illustrate the following evidence given by a 
witness in a case of manslaughter, 

"You see he pecked he with a peck, and he pecked he 
with a peck, and if he'd pecked he with his peck as hard as 
he pecked he with his peck, he would have killed he, and 
not he he." 

PEEL, m. [Pelle, French, a shovel.] A wooden shovel with a 
long handle, used for putting the bread into the oven. 

PEERT, m. Lively. 

"She just is a nice pleasant peert young lady." 

PEEZE. To ooze out; to leak. 

PEG-AWAY. To eat or drink voraciously. 

In ancient times the liquor was handed round in a wooden 
vessel, marked at different distances from the bottom with 
pegs; each drinker in his turn drank as much as would 
reduce the liquor down to the next peg below; hence, to 
peg away, is to drink fast, so as to lower the liquor in the 
vessel very quickly. 

PELL. A hole of water, generally very deep beneath a waterfall. 
A broad shallow piece of water, larger than an ordinary 

86 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

PELL, <?. To wash away the ground by the force of water. 
PEN, m. A stall for a horse in a stable. 

PENNOCK. A little bridge over a water-course; a brick or 
wooden tunnel under a road to carry off the water. 

PENNY-RATTLE, w. Yellow rattle. R. crista Galli. 

PERCER, w. {Ferrer, French.] A piercer; a punch used by 

PERK-UP. To toss the head disdainfully. 


I swear, 'tis better to be lowly born, 
And range with humble livers in content, 
Than to be perked-up in a glittering grief, 
And wear a golden sorrow." 

King Henry Fill., Act ii. sc. 3. 

PERRAMBLE. [Corruption of Preamble.] 

"He set to and punched into him without any perramble 

PEST. A common ejaculation. 

"What the pest has become of the watering pot?" 

PET, m. [Pett, Ang. Sax.] A pit. 

PETTIGUES, e. Troubles; vexation. 

"She's not one as would tell her pettigues to everyone, 
but she's had as many as most for all that." 

PETER-GRIEVOUS, m. [Petit-grief, French, little grief.] Fretful ; 

"What a peter-grievous child you are! Whatever is the 

PHARISEES. Great uncertainty exists in Sussex as to the 
definition of this word according to its acceptation in the 
minds of country people, who always connect it with fairieses 
(their plural of fairy). 

A Sussex man was once asked, "What is a pharisee?" 
and answered, with much deliberation and confidence, 
"A little creature rather bigger than a squirrel, and not quite 
so large as a fox," and I believe he expressed a general 

Since writing the above, I find that polecats are called 
varies in Devonshire; so that possibly the person who gave this 
answer had been brought in contact with some west-country 
folk and had heard the word from them. It is not Sussex. 

PICKED, or PIKED, w. Pointed. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 87 

PICKPOCKETS, w. Shepherd's purse. Capsella bursa pastoris. 

PICK-UP. To overtake. 

"I picked up the postman between Selmeston and 

PICKSOME. Dainty. 

PICK-UPON. To annoy. 

"They always pick upon my boy coming home from 

PIGEON-COVE, w. A dove cot. 

PIG-MEAT. Fresh pork. By the word pork alone, salt pork is 
always meant. 

PIGSCOT, w. A pigstye. 

PIKER. A gipsy or tramp. 

PILLAR. A large thick pile of white clouds. 

PILLOWBERE, w ; and PILLOWCOAT, e. A pillow case. 

PILRAG, e. A field that has been ploughed up and neglected. 

PIMPS, m. Small bundles of chopped wood for lighting fires. 

PINNOLD, e. A small bridge. (See Pennock.) 

PIPE-KILN, w. A framework of iron, in which long dirty clay 
pipes are put, and placed over a hot fire or in an oven, till 
they burn white and clean again. 

PITCH, e. An iron stake for making holes in the ground for 
hurdles ; called in West Sussex a folding bar. 

PITCHER, m. The man who lifts and pitches the corn or hay up 
on to the wagon. Those who unload the wagons on to 
the stack or rick are called impitchers, or inpitchers. 

PITHERED, m. Gummed-up. 

"I've had such a terr'ble gurt cold, my eyes seem quite 
pithered-up o' mornings." 

PIZE, e. A strong expression ; thought by some to be connected 
with swearing by the pyx. 

"What the pize have you got to do with it?" 

PLAIN, m. Any piece of ground that is level, no matter how 
small it may be. 

PLATE-BONE. The blade-bone. 

88 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

PLATTY, e. Uneven ; usually said of a crop. 

To say that "apples are very platty this year" would mean 

that there is a quantity in some places and none at all in 


FLAW, e. A small wood ; a plantation. 
PLOG.* To clog or hinder. 
PLUCK, e. The lungs, liver and heart of a sheep or lamb. 

PLUM-HEAVY. A small round cake made of pie-crust, with 
raisins or currants in it. 

Dr. J. C. Sanger, of Seaford, when Government Surgeon 
at the Cape of Good Hope, was sent for to see an English 
settler. Reaching the house at tea-time, he joined the family 
at their meal, and on sitting down to the table he said, "You 
come from Sussex." " Yes," was the answer, "from Horse- 
mouncies (Hurstmonceux), but how did you know that ?" 
"Because you have got plum-heavies for tea," said the 
doctor, " which I never saw but when I have been visiting 
in Sussex." 

POACH, m. \_Pocher, French, to thrust; poke.] To tread the 
ground into holes, as cattle do in wet weather. 

"Mus' Martin's calves got into our garden last night; there 
was fowerteen 'an 'em, and they've poached the lawn about 
middlin' I can tell ye! Master will be mad!" 

The word poacher evidently has the same derivation; the 
sportsman regards his game as his own, but the poacher 
intrudes, or pokes into the property of another, as explained 
in Cotgrave. 

People frequently talk of poached eggs, as if they had 
been stolen, instead of delicately cooked (as they ought to 
be) in poches or bags of wire or muslin. 

POAD-MILK, e. The first milk given by cows after calving. 
POD. The body of a cart. 
POINTING-STETHE, w. A small anvil, or stithy. 
POISON-BERRY, w. Black bryony. Tamus communis. 
POKE, w. [Pocca, Ang. Sax., a pouch.] A long sack. 

"To buy a pig in a poke" means to buy it in the sack and 
so to take a thing for granted without proper enquiry. 

POLE-PULLER. The man whose business it is to pull the hop- 
poles out of the ground and lay them down for the pickers. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 89 

In former times, at the commencement of the hop-picking 
season, the pickers purchased a neck-cloth for the pole- 
puller. The article was of some showy colour, to make him 
more conspicuous in the hop-garden, and its purchase seems 
to have been attended with some convivialities, if we may 
judge from the following extract from the diary of Mr. 

"September 23, 1756. Halland hop-pickers bought their 
pole-pullers nick-cloth and, poor wretches, many of them 

POLLARD. The refuse siftings of flour, finer than bran and 
coarser than sharps. 

POLT, e. A hard driving blow. The form pult occurs in early 

POND-PUDDING. Another name for the Black-eyed Susan. 
POOCH. (See Poach.) To push or dig into anything. 
POOCHER, m. An instrument used by thatchers. 

POOK-HALE. Puck's Hall ; the fairy's cottage. 

A cottage at Selmeston goes by this name, and one of 
our numerous ghosts is still said to frequent the spot. 

There are many farms and closes in Sussex which owe 
their names to having been the reputed haunt of fairies. 

POOR. Thin. The proverb "as poor as a church mouse" is 
connected with this meaning of the word. When the 
numerous candles which adorned the altar, or were placed 
before shrines of patron Saints, were removed at the Refor- 
mation, the mice which formerly frequented the churches 
were starved out. 

POPPLE, e. To bubble. A poppling sea is when the waves rise 
and fall with a quick sudden motion. 

POSNET, w. A skillet; a small saucepan. 

POT-HANGER, w. A hook shaped like the letter s on which the 
black pot was hung over the fire to boil. 

POUD." An ulcer; a boil. 

POULTS, w. Beans and peas sown and harvested together. 

POUND, m. [Ang. Sax. pund, a fold ; pyndan, to pen up.] A 
small enclosure. A pigstye is called a hog-pound. 

POUNTLE, w. Honest ; reliable. [Probably a corruption of 

90 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect, 

POWDERING-TUB, m. A tub for salting meat. 

" From the powdering tub of infamy, 
Fetch forth the lazar kite of Cressid's kind." 

King Henry V., Act ii. sc. I. 

PRATT, w. The bar of a plough to which the traces are 

PRAYERS-GOING, e. Service in church. 

" We only have prayers-going once on a Sunday at our 


PRAYING-BOOK, e. The Prayer Book. 
PRENSLEY, m. [Corruption of Presently.] 

PRIMED. Half tipsy; overcharged with drink and ready to 
explode into any kind of mischief. 

PRINT-MOONLIGHT, e. Very clear moonlight. 

" He must have been primed to fall into the pond such a 
night as that was, for t'was print-moonlight." 

PROG. A linch-pin. 

PRONG, m. A hayfork with two speens. 

PROPER. Thorough. 

"He's a proper old rogue !" 

PUCKER. A fuss. Over-anxiety, with a little touch of ill-temper. 
PUCKERED-UP, m. Shrivelled up with cold. 
PUCKETS.* Nests of caterpillars. 

PUDDING-CAKE. A composition of flour and water boiled; 
differing from a hard dick in shape only, being flat instead 
of round. 

PUG. A kind of loam. 

PULL. To summon before the magistrates. 

PUMPLE-FOOTED. Club-footed. 

PURTY. [Corruption of Pretty.] 

PURVENSION. Responsibility. 

"It is none of my purvension" means "I am not answer- 
able for it." 

PUTT-IN. To bury. 

"Master Hackleford is a man I always respacted, and if 
I knowed when he was a-going to be putt-in, I'd goo for 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 91 


QUAINT. [For acquainted.] 

QUALITY, w. This word occurs in old parochial account books 
for a kind of tape. 

QUARTERING, w. The wooden framing of a house, the upper 
story of which is made of wood-work covered with tiles. 

QUEER, m. To puzzle. 

" It has queered me for a long time to find out who that 
man is ; and my mistus she's been quite in a quirk over it. 
He doant seem to be quaint with nobody, and he doant 
seem to have no business, and for all that he's always to and 
thro', to and thro', for everlastin'." 

QUERN, w. \Cwtorn, Ang. Sax., a mill.] A hand-mill to grind 


"Are you not he 

That frights the maidens of the villag'ry, 

Skim miik, and sometimes labour in the quern?" 

Midsummer Nighf s Dream, Act ii. sc. I. 

QUEST, e. To give tongue like a hound. 

QUICK, w. Pregnant. 

"Faith, unless you play the honest Trojan, the poor wench is cast 

away: she's quick." 

Love s Labour Lost, Act v. sc. 2. 

QUICK. \Cwic, Ang. Sax., living.] Alive. 

" I thought that the sheep was dead when I first saw it, 
but I found it was quick still." 

QUICK. To hurry ; used actively and reflexively. 

" I'll quick him fast enough if he doesn't quick himself a 
little more." 

QUICK. An expression applied to the sands when they are 
insecure from not being sufficiently firm and dry. 

"You should not ride on the sands so soon after the tide 
has turned, for they are sure to be quick and shifting." 

QUID. A cud. 

QUIDDY, e. [Que dis tu? French.] What do you say? 
" Quiddy ? I didn't hear what you said." 

QUILERS, or QUOILERS, w. Part of the harness of a cart horse ; 
the breeching. 


92 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

QUILER-HARNESS, V). The trace-harness. 

QUILL, w. A spring of water. (Variation of Well.) 

QTJILLY, m. The roughness of the skin produced by cold, 

sometimes described as goose-flesh. 
QUILT To claw and pound with the paws, as cats do upon a 

carpet; also called "making bread." When the cat makes 

bread it is a sign of rain. 

QUIRK, m. A fuss ; a whim ; a fancy. 

" I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on 
me because I have railed so long at marriage . . . When I said 
I should die a batchelor, I did not think I should live tiU I were 
marry'd." Much Ado About Nothing, Act ii. sc. 3. 

QUONT. [Compare contus, Latin.] A barge-pole. 
QUOTTED. Satiated; glutted. 


RABBITS, e. An ejaculation. 

"What the rabbits ! Why, its never you out in such weather 
as this, surelye!" 

RABBIT' S-MEAT, m. Wild parsley. Anthriscus sylvestris. 

RACKETTING-RIDDLE, w. \_Hriddel, Ang. Sax., a sieve.] A cane- 
bottomed sieve. 

RACKON, m. [Corruption of Reckon.] 

"The fire burns middlin' rash; I rackon 'tis because 'tis so 

RACK-UP. To supply horses with their food for the night. 

RAD. [Corruption of Rod.] The shaft of a cart; a measure of 
i6 feet, by which distance is more frequently measured 
than by yards, as elsewhere. 

RADDLES. [Diminutive of Rod.] Long supple sticks of green 
wood interwoven between upright stakes to make a hedge. 

RADDLE AND DAB. Frame-work of timber filled in with mortar. 
RADDLE-FENCE, e. A hedge made with raddles. 
RADES, w. The rails of a wagon. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 93 

RADICAL, e. Tiresome; disobedient. 

"He's that radical that I do'ant know whatever '11 become 
an him. I've told him adunnamany times not to ride on the 
rads, but 'tis no use what you says to him." 

RAFTY, e. Very. 

RAFTY, w. Ill-tempered ; difficult to manage. 

RAGGED-JACK, w. Scotch kale. 

RAGGED-JACK, e. Ragged robin. Lychnis flos-cuculi. 

RAKE, e. The sea is said to rake when it breaks on the shore 
with a long grating sound. 

RAKE. "As lean as a rake" is a common proverb among Sussex 
people, who use the word in the same sense as in the follow- 
ing passage, 

" Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes; for the 
gods know, I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge." 

Coriolanus, Act i. sc. i. 
"As lene was his hors as is a rake." 

Chaucer, Prol. 1. 287. 
RAMP, e. To grow rapidly and luxuriantly. 

RAP-AND-RTTN, or RAP-AND-REND.* [Icel, hrapa. To rush 
headlong.] To seize and plunder; to seize hold of every- 
thing one can. 

RAPE. \_Hreppr, Icelandic.] A division of a county comprising 
several hundreds. 

The Normans divided the county of Sussex into six rapes 
Hastings, Pevensey and Lewes, in East Sussex; Bramber, 
Arundel, and Chichester, in West Sussex. Each of these 
rapes had a castle near the coast, and an available harbour 
at its southern extremity, and formed what was called "a 
high road to Normandy." 

RARE, m. \_Hrere, Ang. Sax., raw.] Underdone. 

RASH. \_Roesc, Ang. Sax., a flash.] Fierce and clear; said of 
a fire in frosty weather. 

"His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last, 
For violent fires soon burn out themselves." 

Richard II. , Act ii. sc. I. 

RATHE.* Early; as rathe in the morning. (Ray.) 

RATHER-RIPE. [Hrath, Ang. Sax., early.] The name of an 
apple which ripens early. 

RATTLEBONE. Worn out; tumbling to pieces. 
G 2 

94 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

RANK. Smoke. 

RAVE-CART. A common cart fitted with raves. 

RAVES. Two frames of wood which are laid on the top of a 
wagon in such a way as to meet in the middle and project 
on all sides beyond the body of the vehicle, so as to enable 
it to carry a larger load. 

REAFE. \Redfian, Ang. Sax., to seize; seize upon.] To antici- 
pate pleasure; to long for the accomplishment of anything; 
to speak continually on the same subject. 

REARING-FEAST. A feast given to the workmen when the roof 
is reared or put on the house. 

REBELLIOUS. [Corruption of Bilious.] 

" I should be very much obliged for a few of them re- 
bellious pills." 

RECKON, m. To suppose. A Sussex man uses the expression, 
"I reckon" as often as an American uses " I guess." 

" Did put the yoke upon us ; which to shake off, 
Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon 
Ourselves to be." Cymbeline, Act iii. sc. I. 

RECOLLECTS, e. Memory. 

" I quite lost my recollects, and the doctor he redeemed 
it was through along of the fever." 

REDEEM, m. [Corruption of Deem.] To consider; to give an 

REEK, m. [Rede, Ang. Sax., smoke.] Fog or mist rising from 
the marsh. 

"You common cry of curs ! Whose breath I hate 
As reek of the rotten fens." 

Coriolanus, Act iii. sc. 3. 

REEVE. \_Ge-refa, Ang. Sax.] A bailiff; an officer of the lord of 
the manor. 

REFUGE, e. To separate the inferior sheep or lambs from the 

REFUGE. [Corruption of Refuse.] Worthless ; unsaleable. 
RENDER. To give the finishing coat of plaster to a wall. 

REVE, or REVES, m. Rent or tithes. The fishermen at Brighton 
are liable to pay six mackerel as reves each time they return 
from mackerel fishing. 

REYNOLDS. " Mus Reynolds" is the name given to the fox. 

When I was first told that " Mus Reynolds come along 
last night" he was spoken of so intimately that I supposed 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 95 

he must be some old friend, and expressed a hope that he 
had been hospitably received. " He helped hisself," was 
the reply; and thereupon followed the explanation, illustrated 
by an exhibition of mutilated poultry. 

RHEUMATTICS. A woman once said to me, "There's so many 
new complaints now-a-days to what there used to be; there's 
this here rheumatism there's so much talk about. When I 
was a gal 'twas the rheumattics, and I ddant know as there's 
much odds in it now naun but if you wants to cure the 
rheumatism you wants a lot of doctor's stuff; but for my 
part, if ever I be troubled with the rheumattics (and I be 
quite eat-up otherwhile) I goos out and steals a tater, and 
carries it in my pocket till the rheumattics be gone." 

RIB-LADE, w. The bar on the side of a wagon parallel with the 

RICE, w; RICE-HEADING, e. \_Hris, Ang. Sax., a twig.] Under- 
wood cut sufficiently young to bear winding into hedges or 

RICKSTEDDLE, m. [Hreac and Stede, Ang. Sax., a rick place.] 
An enclosure for corn or hay ricks. 

RICKSTEDDLE, w. A wooden frame placed on stones on which 
to build the ricks. 

RIDDER, e. \Hridder, Ang. Sax.] An oblong coarse wire sieve 
used with a blower for winnowing corn, the ridder being 
moved to and fro on a stake in front of the blower. 

RIDDLE, w. [Hriddel, Ang. Sax.] A large sieve for sifting 
wheat in a barn. 

RIDE, m. Any bridle-road, but generally a green way through 
fur;:e or wood-land. 

RIDE, e. A rut, or wheel mark. 
RIDE, m. To be a burden. 

" I didn't want to ride the club, so I declared off." 
RIDE-HORSE, e. A saddle-horse. 

RIDES, e. The iron hinges on a gate by which it is hung to the 
post and so swings or rides. 

RIDGE-BAND, e; or RIDGE-STAY, w. [Hryg, Ang. Sax., the back.] 
That prrt of the harness which goes over the saddle on the 
horse's back, and being fastened on both sides, supports 
the sha'.'.s of the cart. 

RIDGE-BONK. The weather boarding on the outside of wooden 
houses, common in Sussex and Kent. 

96 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

RIFE, w. A ditch on the moorland. (See Rythe.) 

RINGLE. [Diminutive of Ring.] A small ring, such as that put 
into the snout of a pig to prevent him from rooting up the 
floor of his sty. 

I find among the manorial customs the following regula- 
tion, " It is also ordained that every one do yoke or ring 
his hogs before the feast of St. Michael the Archangel next, 
and the same keep so yoked or ringed until the feast of St. 
John the Baptist then next following, under pain of forfeiting 
to the lord, for every hog, for every week, 33. 4d." 

RINGLE, m. To put rings in hogs' snouts. 

RIP. To reap. The sickle is called the rip-hook. 

RIPE. \_Ripa, Latin.] A bank or sea-shore. 

A village in East Sussex is called by this name. 

RIPIERS. [Icel., hrip, a basket.] Men from the coast who carry 
baskets of fish to inland towns and villages. The word rip 
is still used in Scotland for a basket. 

RISING, e. Yeast. 

ROBBUT. [Corruption of Rabbit.] Sometimes pronounced as 
broadly as robert. 

" Robbuts ! Ah, I layyou never see such aplaace for robbuts 
as what ourn is ! I never should have beleft, without I'd seen 
'em in my garden, that there was so many robbuts in the 
wurreld. Why they be ready to eat us up alive!" 

ROKE. [Roec, or Rede, Ang. Sax., smoke.] Steam; mist. 

ROMNEY-MARSH. There is a saying in East Sussex that the world 
is divided into five parts Europe, Asia, Africa, America, 
and Romney-marsh. 

ROOSTER. The common cock. The Americans invariably call 
cocks by this name. 

ROOKERY, m. A disturbance; a fuss and chattering. 

"I never knew of a wedding but what the women-folks 
made a middlin' rookery over it." 

ROSSEL-FENCE, w. The same as raddle-fence. 
ROTHER, w. \_Hryther, Ang. Sax.] A horned beast. . 
ROUGH. Passionate; angry. 

"Mus Moppet he'll be middlin' rough if he sees you a 
throwing at he's rooster." 

ROUNDEL. A circle; anything round. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 97 

ROUND-FROCK. A loose frock or upper garment of coarse 
material, generally worn by country-people over their other 
clothes. A white round frock is considered mourning, and 
when worn (as I have sometimes seen it) under a great coat, 
the effect is by no means good, particularly when viewed from 

ROUPEY. [Connected with the Ang. Sax., hrlpan; or the Ice- 
landic, hropja, to scream out.] Hoarse. 

ROWENS, m; or ROUGHINGS, e. The latter grass which comes 
after mowing, and is frequently left for cattle to eat in the 
winter when it becomes coarse and rough. 

RUBBER. The stone used for whetting the scythe. 
RUBBIDGE. Rubbish ; especially weeds in a garden. 
RUDY, m. Rude. 

"They boys! They boys! They be so rudy." 

RUE, w. [Rue, French, a street.] A row; a hedge-row. 

RUNAGATE. A good-for-nothing fellow. 

" There let him sink, -and be the seas on him ! 
White-livered runagate, what doth he there?" 

Richard III., Act iv. sc. 4. 

RUNDLET. A small circle. [Diminutive of Roundel.] 

RUNT, w. To grub up the roots of trees by drawing them out 
of the ground in a way which does not much disturb the 

RUSTY, w. Unruly; ill-humoured. 

RYTHE, w. [Rithe, Ang. Sax., a fountain; well; rivulet.] A 
small stream ; usually one occasioned by heavy showers of 


SABBED. Wet; saturated; sopped. (See Sape.) 

SAD. Sodden; heavy; said of bread which has not risen well. 

SAFE, w. Sure; certain. 

"He's safe to be hanged." 

98 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

SAG. [Connected with Saegan, Ang. Sax., to cause to descend.] 
To fit badly; to hang down on one side; to subside by its 
own weight or an overload. 

"The mind I sway by, and the heart I bear, 
Shall never sag with doubt, nor shake with fear." 

Macbeth, Act v. sc. 3. 

SALIMOTE, m. The court of the lord of the old manor of Bright- 
helmston in 1656 was described as the Salimote Court. 

SALLET. A salad. (As ballet for ballad.) 

"Sunday, May 13, 1764. Myself, Mr. Dodson and servant 
at church in the morn. We dined on a calf's heart pudding, 
a piece of beef, greens and green sallet. Mr. Hartley came 
to bring me a new wigg. Paid him in full for a new wigg 
\. 153., and new-mounting an old one, 43." 

Diary of Mr, Turner, of East Hoathly. 

Shakespeare uses the word, 

Clown. " Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of the sallet; or, 
rather, the herb of grace." 

Lafeu. "They are not sallet herbs you knave, they are nose herbs." 
Airs Well that Ends Well, Act iv. sc. 5. 

SALLY, e. \_Salig, Ang. Sax. ; Salix, Latin.] A willow. 
SALTS, e. Marshes near the sea, overflowed by the tides. 
SAFE. \S<zp, Ang. Sax.] Sap. 

SAKE. \Searian, Ang. Sax., to dry.] Withered; dry; said of 
wood. (See Sear.) 

"Burn ash -wood green, 
'Tis fire for a Queen ; 
Burn ash-wood sare, 
'Twool make a man swear." 

SARMENT. A sermon. 

" I likes a good long sarment, I doos; so as when you 
wakes up it aint all over." 

SATTERED, m. Thoroughly soaked. (Probably a corruption of 

SAUCE, m. (Pronounced Sass.) Vegetables; but generally 
used of cabbages. The Americans speak of garden-sass. 

"I reckon I shaan't have no sass at all this year, all 
through along on account of the drythe." 

SAYE. Serge or woollen cloth. Cheeseworth Inventory, 1549. 
SCAD, m. A small black plum which grows wild in the hedges. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 99 

SCADDLE, m. \_Scathig, Ang. Sax., hurtful.] Wild; mischievous; 
thievish. The Anglo-Saxon word sceatha has the same 
double meaning (i) a robber; thief; (2) an adversary. 

Applied to a truant boy, or a cow which breaks through 
hedges, or a cat which steals. 

SCADE. Harm; mischief. 
SCALY, w. Inclined to steal. 

SCAMBLE, w. To make a confusion of anything. ' 

"The scambling and unquiet time 
Did push it out of further question." 

King Henry V., Act i. sc. I. 

SCAR, e. [Possibly connected with Icel., skdr, open, exposed.] 
Exposed to. 

"Our house lays quite scar to the sea." 

SCARCEY, m. Scarce. Also used in Kent. 

SCORING-AXE. An axe used to chip round the stem of a tree, 
previous to falling (i.e., felling it). 

SCONCE. \_Schans, Dutch, a sconce.] A socket fixed in a wall 
for holding a candle. 

SCORSE. To exchange. Like scrunch for crunch, this word is 
corruption of the Old English word corse, which means to 
barter, exchange, &c. 

" This cat el he got with olsering, 
And spent al his lif in corsing." 

i.e., "This cattle he acquired by usury, and led all his life in 
bargaining." Old Metrical Homilies. 

Spenser also uses the word, 

"And therein sat an old old man, half blind, 
And all decrepit in his feeble corse, 
Yet lively vigour rested in his mind, 
And recompenst them with a better scorse ; 
Weak body well is changed for minds redoubled forse." 

The Faerie Queene, Book II., Cant. ix. 55. 

The following instance will illustrate the modern use of 
the word, 

A gipsy boy, with whom I was on friendly terms, used to 
travel about this part of the country selling trumpery 
brooches and ornaments. As he was one day exhibiting 
the contents of his basket, I was surprised to see half-a- 
dozen onions loose among the jewelry. " What," I said, 
"do you sell onions, too?" "No, sir," he replied, "but I 
scorsed away a pair of diamond ear-rings for these few onions, 
with a lady down at the cottage yonder." 

100 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

SCRATCH-ALONG. To pull through hard times. 

"What with otherwhiles a day's turmut-hoeing, and other- 
whiles a day's tan-flawin', and otherwhiles a job of gardening 
I've just managed to scratch along somehows." 

SCRAZE. [Connected with graze.] To scratch, or rather to 

scratch and bruise at the same time. 

"She was climmin' up after some scads and fell down and 

scrazed her knees." 
SCRIER, or SCREER, e. A high-standing sieve which is used 

for cleansing corn from dust and other rubbish ; sometimes 

called a screen. 
SCROW, or SCROWSE, e. [Connected with the Old English 

word crus, wrathful.] Angry; dark and scowling. 

SCRUMP, e. [Scrimmian, Ang. Sax., to wither up.] Anything 

In Hampshire a small shrivelled up apple is called a 

SCRY, e. To sift corn through a scrier. 
SCUD. Driving rain ; mist. 

SCUFFLE, e. An outer garment worn by children to keep their 
clothes clean; a coarse apron for dirty work. 

SCUFFLE-PLOUGH, w. A skim ; a horse-hoe. 

SCUPPIT. A wooden shovel used by maltsters and hop-driers. 

SCUTCHETT,* w. The refuse of wood. 

SCUTTY, m. A wren ; also called a cutty. 

The Sussex small boys have a Small Birds Act of their own, 
which is found sufficient for the protection of all birds which 
they consider entitled to protection, and commands much 
more respect and obedience than a recent Act of Parliament. 

"Robins and wrens 
Are God Almighty's friends; 

Martins and swallers 
Are God Almighty's scholars." 

SEAM. [Seam, Ang. Sax.] Eight bushels, or a horse load. 

SEAN, or SEINE. [Sane, Old French, still used in France.] A 
very large net used for catching mackerel or herrings. 

SEAR. [Searian, Ang. Sax., to dry up.] Dry; withered; burnt 
up by the sun. (See Sare.) 

" My May of life 
Is fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf." 

Macbeth, Act v. sc. 3. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect, 101 

SEASON, m. Ground in good condition. 

SEE. Used always as the perfect for saw. 

" I never see such larmentable poor ground as this here. 
I've been diggin' it over to get a season to plant a little 
onion seed, but I shan't make naun an't." 

SEED-CORD.* [Connected with the Dutch word korf, a basket.] 
A wooden vessel in which the sower carries the seed. 

SEED-LIP, m. \_Soed-leap, Ang. Sax.] A basket for seed ; a seed- 

SEEDSMAN, m. The foreman of the farm, whose business it is 
to sow. 

SEN. Since. 

The Sussex word is the older form, and is traced to the 
Ang. Sax. siththan, which became sin, sen, or sithen, from 
the last of which was formed sithens, whence since. 

"I haven't been over to Selmeston not sen I was seeds- 
man at Mus Allwork's. Ah ! he was a set sort of a man, he 
was, and no mistake." 

SESSIONS. A great deal of business; a fuss. 

"There's always such sessions over lighting up the 
church in winter time." 

SET. Obstinate; self-willed; determined. 

SET-OUT. A disturbance. 

"There's been a pretty set-out up at the forge." 

SETTLE. \Setl, Ang. Sax., a seat.] A wooden seat with a back 
and arms. 

" He fell down off the settle and scrazed his nose and made 
as much set-out as though he'd been killed." 

SEVERALS, m. Portions of common assigned for a term to a 
particular proprietor; the other commoners waiving for a 
time their right of common over them. 

" My lips are no common, though several they be." 

Love's Labour Lost, Act ii. sc. I. 

Ayscough gives the following note on this passage: 
"This word (several), which is provincial, means those fields 
which are alternately sown with corn, and during that time 
are kept several or severed from the field which lies fallow 
and is appropriated to the grazing of cattle, not by a fence, 
but by the care of the cowherd or shepherd, and in which the 
town bull only is allowed to range unmolested." 

102 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

SEW, e. \_S_ychu, Welsh, to dry up ; cognate with Latin siccare.~] 

To drain land. 

SEW, e. An underground drain. 
SEW, w. A cow is said to be gone to sew when her milk is 

dried off. 

SHACKY. Shabby; ragged. 
SHACKLE, w. To idle about; to waste time; to be very busy 

about nothing. 
SHADE. [Shard.~\ A piece of broken tile or pottery. 

SHAG, w. A cormorant. 

"As wet as a shag," is a common expression, taken from 
the idea of a cormorant diving frequently under the water. 

SHARD, e. A gap in a hedge. This word, like shade, is derived 
from the Anglo-Saxon sceard, which means (i) a sherd; (2) 
a division. 

SHARP.* The shaft of a cart. 

SHARPS. The finest refuse siftings of flour. (See Pollard.) 

SHATTER, m. A number or quantity. 

"There's a tidy shatter of hops this year." 

SHAUL, or SHAWLE. A wooden shovel without a handle, used for 
putting corn into a winnowing machine. This word is a 
variation of shool or shovel. 

" I, said the owl, 
With my spade and showl." 

SHAW, e. A small hanging wood. 

Ray defines it as "a wood that encompasses a close." 

SHAY. A faint ray of light. In Kent the word means a general 
likeness, and seems to correspond to the Sussex bly. 

A man who was trying to describe to me a fearful appa- 
rition which he had seen in Firle park, said, after much 
cross-examination, that it passed quite close to him in the 
form of an enormous white horse, and there was a bluish 
shay. I should myself have supposed that a horse and shay 
was a sufficiently common object of the country not to have 
excited undue influence, but on this occasion the appearance 
was so overwhelming that the man was ill for several days. 

SHEAR, e. A spear, as an eel-shear. 

SHEAT, <?. A young hog of the first year. (See Shoot.) 

SHEEP-CAGE. A framework out of which the sheep eat their 
hay, &c., in a strawyard. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 103 

SHEER. \_Scir, Ang. Sax., clear, white.] Smooth and shiny, as 
flesh which is swollen. 

SHEERES. The true Sussex man divides the world into two parts. 
Kent and Sussex forms one division, and all the rest is "The 
Sheeres." I have heard China and Australia both described 
as in the sheeres; but I confess that I was somewhat startled 
at being told that I was myself " a man as was well acquaint 
with the sheeres, and had got friends in all parts of this 
world and the world to come." This statement was meant as a 
compliment, but when I came to consider it afterwards, I was 
not sure that it was altogether complimentary to some of my 

SHEERE-MAN. A man who comes from the shires (and not 
necessarily sure of a favourable reception in Sussex). 

SHEERE-MOUSE. A field mouse. A shrew-mouse. 

The country people have an idea that the harvest-mouse 
is unable to cross a path which has been trod by man. 
Whenever it attempts to do so it is said to be immediately 
struck dead. This accounts (they say) for the numbers 
which on a summer's evening may be found lying dead on 
the edge of the field footpaths without any wound or apparent 
cause of death. 

SHEERE-MOUSE. An epithet of derision applicable to a sheere- 
man. The phrase "the sheeres" is found in many other 
parts of England, and is generally expressive of a certain 
degree of depreciation. In Shropshire the manufacturing 
districts are spoken of as "down in the shires." 

SHEERE-WAY, e. A bridle-way. 

SHELL-FIRE. Phosphorescent light from decaying matter; called 
also fairy sparks. 

SHELVE, e. To throw manure out of a cart by raising the fore- 
part so that the bottom may shelve or slope. 

SHIM. \_Schim, Dutch, a shade or ghost.] A glimpse of any- 

"I thought I saw a shim of the carpenter going by the 
gate just now, but I'm not sure." 

SHIM, e. A narrow strip or glimpse of white on a horse's face. 

SHIM. A horse hoe for cleaning the ground between rows of 
beans or hops. 

SHIMPER. \_Scimian, Ang. Sax., to shine or shimmer.] To shine 

104 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

SHINGLES. Small wooden tiles made of split oak, used for roofs, 
steeples, &c. 

There are several church spires in Sussex covered with 
these shingles. 

SHIP, m. Sheep. 

Seldom used in the singular. 

SHIRTY. Easily offended. A man who has quickly lost his 
temper is said to have got his shirt out. 

SHOD. [Perfect of Shed.] Spilt. This word is correct, the 
Anglo-Saxon past tense being sceod. 

"I sent him up to fetch a little beer, but he shod half of 
it bringing of it home." 

SHOES AND STOCKINGS, m. A wild flower of the cypripedium 
genus (Holloway) called in East Sussex " pattens and clogs," 
or " butter and eggs." 
SHOG. The core of an apple. 
SHOKE, m. The original form of shook. 

" He shoke his fistes in my face, he did!" 
SHOCKED, e. Shook. 

" I shocked in my shoes to hear what words he used." 

SHOOLER, e. An idle, lazy fellow; described as "a man who 
goes about with his boots undone." 

SHOOT, w. A young growing pig. (See Sheat.) 

SHOOT. A gutter round a roof for shooting off the water. 

SHORE, m. To shelve off; to cut off evenly. 

"If the road was better shored at the sides the water 
wouldn't lay so much as what it does." 

SHORE. \_Schoren, Dutch, to prop up.] A prop, a support. 

SHORN-BTJG, m. [Scearn, Sax., dung; scearn-w ibba, a shorn - 
bug.] A beetle. To eat shorn-bugs for dinner is a pro- 
verbial expression for the extremity of poverty. 

SHORT, m. Out of temper; unable to give a civil answer. 

SHORT, m. Tender. 

A rat-catcher once told me that he knew many people 
who were in the habit of eating barn-fed rats, and he added, 
"When they're in a pudding you could not tell them from a 
chick, they eat so short and purty." 

SHOVE, e. To put the loose corn into cops or heaps, that it may 
be more conveniently taken up. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 105 

SHRAPE, e. To scold. 

SHRAVEY.* A loose sub-soil, something between clay and sand. 

SHRIEVY, e. Unravelled ; having threads withdrawn. 

SHROGS, e. The refuse trimmings of hop-plants; also called 

SHRUCK, e. Shocked. 

SHRUCK, e. Shrieked. 

An old woman who was accidentally locked up in a church 
where she was slumbering in a high pew, said, "I shruck till 
I could shruck no longer, but no one corned, so I up and tolled 
upon the bell." 

SHUCK. Another form of the perfect tense of the verb to shake. 

SHUCK, e. To undress; to shell peas, &c. 

SHUCK, m. A husk or pod. 

SHUCKISH. Unsettled ; applied to the weather. 

SHUN. To push. "He shunned me off the pavement." 

SHUT, w. A young pig ; also called a sheat or shoot. 

SHUT-OF, m. To be rid of. 

"Once he gets indoors, you'll be troubled to get shut an' 
him ; I dunno but what you'd best shun him out of the fore- 
door at oncest." (Pronounced Wunst.) 

SIDEBOARDS, w. Rails fitted on the top of the sides of a 
wagon, so as to admit of the addition of an extra load. 

SIDELANDS, w. The outside parts of a ploughed field, adjoining 
the hedges, where the plough has been turned, running 
parallel with the lands or warps. 

SIDY.* Surly; moody. 

SIEVER, e. All the fish caught at one tide. 

SILT, e. Sand or mud deposited and left by the tide or a flood. 

SILT-UP. To become so choked-up, with mud or sediment of 
any kind, as to stop the passage of water in a ditch or the 
bed of a river. 

SIMPLE, e. Unintelligible, or stupid. 

"Will you be so good as to lend mother another book? 
for she says this one is so simple she can't make it out at 

SISSEL, m. The usual pronunciation of thistle. 

106 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

SIZZING. Yeast or barm. It is probable that this word may 
have its origin in the sound made by beer or ale in working. 

SKEELING." The bay of a barn ; the side of a garret or upper 
room, where the slope of the roof interferes with the 

SKEP. \_Scep, Ang. Sax., a basket.] A beehive, or the straw 
hackle placed over it for protection. 

SKEP, <?. A hat ; a broad flat basket. 

SKICE. To run quickly and slily, so as to avoid detection. 

"I just saw the top of his skep as he skiced along under 
the hedge." 

SKID. To check a wheel going down hill. 
SKID-PAN. The iron used for skidding. 

SKIM-COULTER. That part of a plough which goes in front to 
take off the turf. 

SKINNY, w. Mean; inhospitable. 

SKIP, e. A small wooden or metal vessel for taking up yeast. 

SKIRMISH, m. To run about in a mischievous manner. 

"It's no use to try and keep a garden tidy as long as the 
children are a skirmishing about over the flower borders." 

SKITTERWAISEN, w. From corner to corner. (Probably a 
corruption of Caterwise.) 

SKIVEL, w. A skewer. In the west, dogwood, of which skewers 
are made, is called skiver-wood. 

SKREEL, e. To scream. 
SKROW. Surly; ill-tempered. 

SLAB, m. A rough board ; the outside cut of a tree which has 
been sawn up in planks. 

SLABBY, m. Dirty; wet and slippery; greasy; sticky. 
"Make the gruel thick and slab." 

Macbeth, Act iv. sc. i. 
SLACK, m. Loose conversation. 

SLAM. To do any work in a slovenly manner. 
SLAP, m. In good condition ; hearty. 

"I don't feel very slap this morning." 

SLAPPEL.* A portion ; a large rough piece of anything. 
SLAT, m. A slate. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 107 

SLATES, m. The pods of peas, &c. 

"The peas seem to be out in bloom a long time before 
they hang in slates this year." 

SLAWEN. A large piece. (See Slappel.) 
SLAY, or SLEIGH. A slope. 

SLEECH, e. Mud or sea-sand used as manure. The sediment 
deposited by the river Rother is called sleech. 

SLICK. [Slikr, Icel., smooth.] To comb the hair; to make it 
This word is used frequently in America in this sense. 

SLIM. \_Slim, Dutch. Schlimm, German, bad ; sly.] To do work 
in a cunning, deceitful manner. 

SLING. A cow or ewe which brings forth her young prematurely 
is said to sling her calf or lamb. 

SLIPE. To take off the outside cover from anything; especially 
used of removing the bark from trees. 

SLIRRUP. To lap up any liquid noisily. 

SLIT.* [Connected with the Dutch word sluiten, to shut or 
lock.] To thrust back the lock of a door without the key. 

SLIVER, w. \_Slifan, Ang. Sax., to cleave.] A slice. 

SLOCK, e. [Corruption of Slack.] 

SLOCKSEY,!?. Slovenly. (Probably connected with the word slack.) 

SLOMMAKY, m. Untidy; dirty. 

SLOP, m. [Slop, Ang. Sax.] A short full-made frock, of coarse 
material, worn by men over their other clothes ; it reaches to 
the waist, where it is fastened by a band. 

SLUB. Thick mud; used as slush is elsewhere. 

SMEECH, m;' or SMUTCH, e. \_Smec, Ang. Sax., smoke, vapour.] 
A dirty black sort of smoke or mist. 

In the west of England the word means a stench, and is 
applied to the smell of the snuff of a candle. 

SMOCK- WINDMILL. A windmill boarded down to the ground, as 
opposed to a post-mill. 

SMOLT, e. \_Smolt, Ang. Sax., smooth.] Smooth and shining. 
SMOORN, e. To smear. 

SMUTCH, e. To smudge. 

"What, hast smutched thy nose ! " 

Winter's Tale, Act i. sc. 2, 

108 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

SNAG. The common snail. With respect to this word, which I 
had been inclined to derive from the Anglo-Saxon snag-el, 
Mr. Skeat informs me that it is the old original word of which 
snag-el is the diminutive ; hence snag is not derived from 
sn&g-el, but vice versa. 
The children say, 

"Snag, snag, put out your horn, 
And I will give you a barley corn." 

SNAP-PLOUGH, w. A plough with two wings, so fixed as to snap 
or move from one side to the other, though only one pro- 
jects at a time. 

SNETHE, m; or SNEAD, w. [Snad, Ang. Sax.] The long handle 
of a scythe. 

SNICKER, m. \_Snikken, Dutch, to gasp.] To sneer; to laugh 

SNIGGLER, m. A slight frost. 

SNOB, m. [Connected with Icel., sndpr, a fool and knave.] A 
travelling shoemaker; a cobbler. 

In the neighbourhood of Burwash it is considered a 
most unfavourable description of a stranger to say that he 
is "a broken down snob from Kent." 

SNOULE, e. A small quantity of anything. Used in Norfolk for 
a short thick cut from the crusty part of a loaf or a cheese. 

SNUDGE, m. To hold down the head; to walk with a stoop 
looking on the ground as if in deep thought. 

SNUFFY, m. Angry. A common nickname for a testy person. 

"Old snuffy came snudging along here just now, and 
wanted to borrow a few Brussels sprouts, but I lent him a 
brockylo once and never got it back again, so I warn't a- 
going to be took in a second time." 

SOCK, m. A blow. 

"I'll give that old sow-cat o' yourn a sock aside the head 
if I catches her in my house agin ! " 

SOCK-LAMB, m. A lamb brought up by hand. 

SOCKISH, m. (Probably a variation of Suckish.) Requiring to 

be petted and nursed; said of a child. 
SOCKLE, m. To suckle. 

SODGER, m. A red herring; literally a soldier. 

The sirloin of a jackass, stuffed with sodgers, is a Sussex 
man's definition of coarse, uninviting food. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 109 


SOLLY, e. A tottering or unstable condition. 

"That cart-lodge of Mus' Dicksey's is all of a solly; t'wunt 
least but a very little while longer afore it comes down." 

SOME-ONE-TIME, m. Now and then; occasionally. 

"Some-one-time I goos across to the Chequers, but doant 
make no rule of it." 

SOMEWHEN. At some time. 

SOOKLAND, e. A name in the manor of Wadhurst for assart-land. 

SOOR, m. An exclamation expressive of surprise. 

SOOR. [Corruption of Swore.] 

"When I told him that the calves was got into the green- 
house, he jumped up and soor that dreadful that I was all of 
a shake." 

SOPS-AND-ALE. A curious custom formerly prevalent at East- 
bourne, which has fallen into disuse in the present century. 
The senior bachelor of the parish was elected by the inhabi- 
tants to the office of steward, and had committed to his 
charge a damask napkin, a great wooden bowl, twelve 
wooden trenchers, a dozen wooden knives and forks, two 
wooden candlesticks, and two wooden sugar basins. 

Whenever a matron within the parish increased her family, 
it was 'the duty of this official to go to the church door on the 
Sunday fortnight after the interesting event, and there 
publicly proclaim that sops and ale would be provided that 
evening at a certain house agreed upon, where the following 
arrangements were made. 

Three tables were placed in some convenient room, 
one of which was covered with the damask table 
cover and furnished with a china bowl, plates, and silver- 
handled knives and forks; the bowl was filled with 
biscuits steeped in wine and sweetened with fine sugar. 
The second table was also covered with a cloth and decently 
provided with knives, forks and china, and a bowl containing 
beer-sops sweetened with fine sugar. The third table had 
no cloth, was furnished with the wooden trenchers, candle- 
sticks, &c., and had its wooden bowl filled with beer-sops 
sweetened with the coarsest sugar. After evening prayers 
the company assembled at the house of their entertainer, 
and were placed in the following order: Those persons 
whose wives had presented them with twins sat at the first 
table, and were addressed as "benchers;" those whose 
partners had blessed them in a less degree were ranged 
round the second table ; while those who were married but 
B 2 

HO A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

childless, were placed with the old bachelors at the third 
table. Various toasts were given, and the company always 
broke up at the temperate hour of eight, " generally very 
cheerful and good tempered." 

S-ussex Archaological Collections, vol. xiii. p. 228. 

SOSS-ABOUT, e. To mix different things together; generally 
applied to liquids. 

"To soss" in the North means to go about in the dirt. 

SOSSEL. To make a slop. 

Sow. A word used among the old Sussex iron-workers for a 
weight of 2,ooo-lbs. 

SOW-CAT, m. A female cat. 

SOW-WAPS. The queen wasp. 

In some parts of the county a reward of sixpence is 
offered for each sow-waps killed in the spring. 

SPACE. A measurement of three feet. Spaces and rods are 
almost the only terms of measurement I have ever heard 
used by country people. 

SPACE. To measure ground. 

SPALT, e. [Connected with the Dutch spalten, to split.] Split; 
brittle; decayed. Applied to timber. 

SPALTER, w. To split or chip off. 

SPANNEL, m. To make dirty foot marks about a floor, as a 
spaniel dog does. 

"I goos into the kitchen and I says to my mistus, I says 
('twas of a Saddaday), the old sow's hem ornary, I says. 
Well, says she, there aint no call for you to come spanneling 
about my clean kitchen any more for that, she says ; so I 
goos out and didn't say naun, for you can't never make no 
sense of women-folks of a Saddaday." 

Shakespeare uses the word in the sense of dogging the 


"The hearts that spaniel'd me at heels." 

Anthony and Cleopatra, Act iv. sc. 10. 

SPANNER, w. A wrencher; a nut-screw. 
SPAN-NEW. Quite new. 

SPAR. \_Spere, Ang. Sax., a spear.] A stick pointed at each end, 
and doubled and twisted in the middle ; used by thatchers 
to secure the straw on the roof of a stack or building. 

SPARR. [Corruption of Sparrow, as Barr for Barrow.] 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. Ill 

SPARTACLES. [An invariable corruption of Spectacles.] 

SPAT. A slap or blow. 

SPATS, m. Leather gaiters reaching above the knee. 

SPATTLEDASHES, m. Short leather gaiters not reaching much 
above the ankle. 

SPEAR, m. The sting of a bee. 

A bee is always said to bite in Sussex. 
SPEAR. To sprout up out of the ground. 

"Soonsever the peas begins to spear, the meece and the 
sparrs gets holt an' em." 

SPELTS. Iron toes and heels for boots. 

SPENES. \_Spana, Ang. Sax.] The teats of a cow. 

SPENE. The prong of a pitchfork. 

SPET. Spit. 

"The old cat set there, and there she set, and spet and 
soor and went on all the whole time." 

SPICE. \_Espece, French.] A slight attack of illness. 

"I had a spice of the ague last week, and I ddant want 
no more of him, for all that they says "tis worse not to have 
him than 'tis to ! " 

SPILE, w. A spigot. 

SPILT. \_Spillan, Ang. Sax., to spoil.] Spoiled. 

"She shod the milk all over her, and spilt her new frock." 

SPILWOOD. Refuse of wood; wood spilt (or spoilt) by the 

SPINNEY. A thicket ; a small plantation. 

SPIT, m. As much earth as can be taken up at once with a spade. 
SPIT-DEEP, m. As deep as a spade goes in digging. 
SPLASH, m. To bank up a hedge. 
SPLASH, e; or SPLISHER, m. To lay a live hedge. 

SPONG, e. To cobble; to work in a rough clumsy way with a 

SPRACKISH, w. Smart and active. 

SPRAY- WOOD. Fagots of brushwood used in the ovens. 

SPREAD-BAT, <?. A wooden bar, used to keep the chains apart 
from rubbing the horses' legs and sides when drawing a 
plough or harrow. 

112 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

SPROG.* A linch-pin. 

SPRONG, e; or SPRONK, m. The roots of a tree or a tooth. 

SPRONKY, m. Full of roots. 

"Ah! I guv' old Mus'Tweazer the biggest job o' tooth- 
pulling ever he had! It took him purty nigh two hours! 
and he said he'd never seen such a tooth all his days, to goo 
so fur down nor yet to be so spronky." 

SPRUG, e. To smarten. 

SPRY, e. Gay; cheerful. 

A word frequently used in America, meaning "in good 
SPUD. A light garden tool with a long handle, for cutting up 

SPUDDLE, m. To use a spud. 

"I be gettin' in years and can't do no more than just 
doddle about the ground and spuddle up a few weeds." 

SQUAB. A young unfledged bird. 

SQUACKETT, m. To quack like a duck. 

"I thought Mus' Reynolds was about last night, the ducks 
kep all on squacketting so." 

SQUAT, w. To indent or bruise anything by letting it fall. 

SQUAT-BAT, e. A piece of wood used for stopping a wheel while 
the horses are at rest on a hilly road. 

SQUATTY, w. Said of meal that has fermented. 
SQUENCH, m. [Corruption of Quench.] 
SQUINNEY. To squint ; to pry tbout. 
SQUIRM. To wriggle like an eel. 

STAB. A small hole in the ground in which the rabbit secures 
her young litter. 

STABBLE, e. To make a floor dirty by walking on it in wet or 
muddy shoes. 

STADE, e. \_Stede, Ang. Sax.] A shore where ships can be 
beached ; a landing place. 

STALDER. [Stalan, Ang. Sax., to place.] The stool on which 
casks are placed in a cellar. 

STALLAGE, m. (Same as Stalder.) 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 113 

STALLED, e. Tired; satiated. 

"Aint you fairly stalled of waiting?" 
"I think the old dog has stalled himself now, for he found 
a stab out in the field and eat the lot." 

STAMMERS. The fresh shoots of a tree which has been cut 

STAM-WOOD, m. \_Stam, Dutch, a stem; a trunk of a tree.] The 
roots of trees, stubbed or grubbed up. 

STANDING. A stall at a market or fair. 

STARK, e. [Sterc, Ang. Sax., rigid.] Ground is said to be stark 
or starked up, when the surface has dried very quickly after 

STARKY, e. Flinty. 

"The land is very starky." 

START. An excitement; a fuss. 

"There's been a pretty start up at the forge this morning! 
Fighting and all manner." 

When a Sussex man is at a loss for words to describe 
events or ideas of a somewhat discreditable nature, he 
gets out of the difficulty by using the phrase " all manner! " 
If he wishes to describe great profusion and plenty, he says 
"there was everything of something and something of 
everything, as the saying is;" but where he gets the saying 
from I have no idea. 

STATESMAN, m. An estates' man ; a man who owns a few acres 
of land and farms them himself. 

The general condition of such persons is that their 
property is mortgaged, and with much harder work they are 
worse off than ordinary labourers. 

STEALE. [Stela, Ang. Sax., a handle.] The handle of most 
agricultural implements. 

STEAN. To pave a road with stones ; to line a well or a grave 
with stone or brick. 

The Steine, at Brighton, probably derives its name from 
this word. 

STEAN, m. To mark out a field for ploughing, which is usually 
done by placing large stones to show the lines. 

STEDDLE. \_Stathol, Ang. Sax., a basis.] The wooden frame- 
work placed on stones or other support, on which corn 
stacks are built. 

114 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

STEDDLE, m. A small side table, or a temporary arrangement of 
boards and trestles. 

STENT, m. A portion of work appointed to be done in a set 

STEW. A pool in which fish are kept for the table. 

STILL. Quiet; respectable. 

"He's a nice still man." 

STILL-WATERS. Distilled waters. 

There is generally an old woman in every village who is a 
notable distiller of waters, which are in great request as 
domestic medicine. 

STILTS. Crutches. 

It is rather surprising to be told that a person is such a 
complete cripple that he can only walk with stilts. 

STINT, e. Shabby; undergrown. 

STITHE, w. An anvil. 

"If his occulted guilt 
Do not itself unkennel in one speech, 
It is a damned ghost that we have seen; 
And my imaginations are as foul 
As Vulcan's stithy." 

Hamlet, Act iii. sc. 2. 

STIVED-UP, m. Crowded. 

"We were all stived-up in one room. There was four 
families, one in each corner, and a single man who slep' in 
the middle. I put up with it as long as I could, but when 
the single man began to take in lodgers I couldn't stand it 
no longer." 

STIVER-ABOUT. (The i is pronounced as in shiver.) To stagger. 
STOACH, e. To trample ground as cattle do in wet weather. 

STOACH-WAY, e. An expression used at Rye Harbour for the 
channel which runs through the sand lying between the 
pier-head and the deep water at low tide. 

STOACHY. Dirty; muddy. 

STOCKY, m. Strong; stout; well grown. 

STOCKY, m. Headstrong; saucy; wilful; generally said of girls. 

" Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage, 
But music for the time doth change his nature." 

Merchant of Venice, Act v. sc. I. 

STODGE, e. Thick mud. (See Stoach.) 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 115 

STODGE, m. A fuss. 

"He's always in such a stodge; if he's got to goo any- 
where's he always wants to be off two hours too soon." 

STOKE. To stir the fire; hence the word stoker. 

STOLT, e. Stout; strong; generally said of fowls. 
"The chickens are quite stolt." 

STOMACHY, m. Proud; obstinate. 
STONE. A weight of eight pounds. 

STOOD, m. Stuckfast. 

An old man told me, "I've seen a wagon stood in the 
snow on the road from Selmeston to Alciston, and they 
never moved it for six weeks." 

STOOL-BALL. An old Sussex game similar in many respects to 
cricket, played by females. It has lately been revived in 
East Sussex by the establishment of stool-ball clubs in many 
villages, which not only provide good exercise for young 
ladies who might otherwise become lazy, but also promote 
kind, social intercourse among all classes. The " elevens" 
go long distances to play their matches; they practice 
regularly, and frequently display such perfection of fielding 
and wicket-keeping as would put most amateur cricketers to 
shame. The rules are printed, and are as keenly discussed 
and implicitly obeyed as those of the Marylebone Club. 

The game is thus alluded to in Poor Robin's Almanack 
for 1740, 

"Now milkmaid's pails are deckt with flowers, 

And men begin to drink in bowers ; 

Sweet sillabubs, and lip -loved tansey, 

For William is prepared by Nancy. 

Whilst hob-nail Dick and simp'ring Frances 

Trip it away in country dances ; 

At stool-ball and at barley-break, 

Wherewith they harmless pastime make." 

STOP, e. A rabbit-stab; probably so-called because the doe 
stops up the entrance when she leaves her young. 

STORM-COCK, or SREECHER. The missel thrush. 
STOT, w. A young bullock. 

STRAND, m. A withered stalk of grass ; one of the twists of a 

STREALE.* [Strcel, Ang. Sax.] An arrow. 

STREET. In Sussex a road is called a street without any 
reference to there being houses beside it; but I am quite 

116 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

unable to say why some roads should be distinguished from 
others by being so called. (A street originally meant a paved 
road, from the Latin strata via.} 

STRIDE, m. A long distance. 

"I ddant exactly know the name of the place he's gone 
to, but I know 'tis a middling stride into the sheeres." 

STRIG. The foot-stalk of any fruit or flower. 

STRIKE. A smooth straight piece of wood, used in measuring, 
to strike the loose corn which lies above the level of the rim 
of the bushel. 

In old inventories "a bushel and strike" usually go 

STRIKE-PLOUGH, m. A plough used for striking out the furrows. 

STRIVES, m. Rivalry. 

"Sometimes I think those people must dress so for strives, 
to see who can be smartest." 

STROD. A forked branch of a tree. 

STROMBOLO. (Possibly connected with the Dutch stroom-ballen, 
stream or tide-balls.) 

"Pieces of black bitumen highly charged with sulphur and 
salt, found along the coast. Called thus at Brighton, doubt- 
less from the Flemings settled in the town. The stones 
have been used for fuel, and Dr. Russell applied the steam 
to scrofulous tumours." Durrant Cooper's Sussex Glossary. 

STUB, e. The stem which is left standing out of the ground 
after a tree has been cut down. 

STUB, e. To stub a horse is to lame him by letting him tread on 
stubs of underwood in a cover. 

STUB, m. To grub up trees with their roots. 

STUB, m. To pluck chicken clean after their feathers have been 
pulled off. 

STUCKLING. An apple-pasty made thin in the shape of a semi- 
circle, and baked without a dish. 

STUD, m; STUDY, e. A state of thoughtfulness. 

"He seems all in a stud as he walks along." 

STUMP, w. A stump of hay is an item frequently found in farm 
inventories in West Sussex. It means the remains of a 
round stack, most of which has been cut away. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 117 

STUPE, e. Stupid; dull. 

An old schooldame thus described the progress of a pupil 
(aged 5): "He's that stupe that he can't tell 'A's' from ' V's,' 
and he actually ddant know the meaning of 'Verily, verily!'" 

STUSNET. A skillet; a small saucepan. 
SUDDENT, m. Suddenly. 

SUE, e. To drain land ; also a drain. (See Sew.) 
SUENT, e. Pleasant; agreeable. 

SULLAGE. \_Souiller, French, to soil.] Any filth or dirt of the 
nature of a sediment. 

SUMMER, e. The beam which supports the bed or body of a 

SUMMER AND WINTER, w. To have summered and wintered a 
person, is to have known him at all seasons and under all 
circumstances, both good and bad. 

SUPPOSE, m. This word is used not to express conjecture, but 

SURELYE. There are few words more frequently used by Sussex 
people than this. It has no special meaning of its own, 
but it is added at the end of any sentence to which particular 
emphasis is required to be given, and numerous examples of 
its use will be found in illustrations of other words in this 

SUSHY, e. \_Sfahe, French, dry.] In want of water. 

"I never knowed such a dry time; we're as sush as sushy." 

SUSSEL. A disturbance; an impertinent meddling with the 
affairs of other people. 

SUSSEX-MOON. A man sent on in front with a lantern fastened 
behind him. 

SUSSEX-PUDDING. A compound of flour and water made up in 
an oblong shape and boiled. There is a moment, when it 
is first taken out of the saucepan, when it can be eaten with 
impunity; but it is usually eaten cold, and in that form I 
believe that it becomes the foundation of all the ills that 
Sussex spirit and flesh are heir to. It promotes a dyspeptic 
form of dissent which is unknown elsewhere. It aggravates 
every natural infirmity of temper by the promotion of chronic 
indigestion, and finally undermines the constitution ; for the 
first symptom of the decay of nature which a Sussex man 
describes is invariably that he can't get his pudding to set. 

SWAD, e. A bushel basket, generally used in selling fish. 

118 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

SWADE. The leather strap of a spinning-wheel. 
SWADING-IRON, w. An instrument used in a blacksmith's forge. 

SWALLOCKY, e. A term applied to the appearance of clouds in 
hot weather, before a thunderstorm. 

SWANK, w. A bog; a dell or damp hollow. 
SWANKY, m. Small beer. 
SWAP, m. To reap corn and beans. 
SWAP-HOOK, m. The implement used for swapping. 
SWARLY. Ill-tempered ; usually applied to animals. 
SWARVE, e. To fill up ; to choke with sediment. 
"Our ditch is quite swarved up." 

SWATH. [Pronounced swarth.] A row of cut grass or corn as 
it is laid on the ground by mowers or swappers. 

"And there the strawy Greeks, ripe for his edge, 
Fall down before him, like the mower's swath." 

Troilus and Cressida, Act v. sc. 5. 

SWEAL. \_Swelan, Ang. Sax., to kindle.] To burn the hair ; to 
singe a pig. 

SWELT. [Sweltan, Ang. Sax., to die.] Hot; faint. 
"Like a swelt cat, better than it looks." 

SWINGE. \_Swingan, Ang. Sax.] To flog. 

"I will swinge him well when I catches him." 

SWINGEL. That part of a flail which beats the corn out of the 

SWORK. [Corruption of Sulk.] To be angry and surly. 
SWORLE. To snarl like a dog. 

SWYMY. [Swimmy.] Giddy; faint. 

"I felt so swymy that I was obliged to get up and go out 
of church." 


TACK. A peculiar flavour; a strong, rank, nasty taste. 

TACK. A path or causeway. 

TACKLE. Working implements ; machinery of any kind. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 119 

TACKLE. Distasteful food or drink. 

"I calls this here claret wine about the poorest tackle ever 
I taasted." 

TAG, <?. A sheep of the first year. 

TAIL- WHEAT, m. The inferior grain which is left after the corn 
has been winnowed. 

TAKENERS, m. Persons taken to learn a trade; young men 
employed in fishing boats at Brighton. 

TALK THIN. To talk in a low voice. 

"He talk so thin that no-one can't scarcely hear what he 

TALWOOD, w. \_Tailler, French, to cut.] Wood cleft and cut 
into billets for firing. 

TAN-FLAWING. Taking the bark off trees, the bark itself being 
called tan. 

" If I can get a job of tan-flawing I shall make out very 

TAVORT. Half a bushel. (See Tovet.) 

TAWER. \_Tawian, Ang. Sax., to prepare hides.] A fellmonger; 
a leather dresser. 

TEAM, w. \_Teman, Ang. Sax., to propagate.] A litter, or a 
number of young beasts of any kind. 

"I have got a nice team of young pigs here." 

TED, m. To spread hay; to shake out the new mown grass. 
TEDDIOUS. Fretful; difficult to please. 

TEDIOUS. Excessive; very. 

"I never did see such tedious bad stuff in all my life." 

TELL. \_Tellan, Ang. Sax., to count.] To count. 

"Otherwhiles I be forced to tell the ship over six and 
seven times before I can get 'em right." 

TELLER, m; or TILLOW, w. \_Telgor, Ang. Sax., a branch.] A 
young oak tree. 

TEMPERSOME. Hasty-tempered. 

TEMPEST. When the wind blows roughly it is said to tempest. 

"It tempestes so as we're troubled to pitch the hay upon 
to the stack anyhows in the wurreld." 

TEMPESTY, w. A gale of wind. 

120 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

TEMPORY. [Corruption of Temporary.] Slight; badly finished. 

" Who be I? Why I be John Carbury, that's who I be! 

And who be you? Why, you aint a man at all, you aint! 

You be naun but a poor tempory creetur run up by contract, 

that's what you be!" 

TENANTRY-ACRE. Mr. Durrant Cooper gives the following 
account of this allotment: "The proportion between the 
tenantry and the statue acre is very uncertain. The tenantry 
land was divided first into laines, of several acres in extent, 
with good roads, some sixteen feet wide between them; at 
right angles with these were formed, at uncertain intervals, 
tenantry roads, of some eight feet in width, dividing the 
laines into furlongs. In each furlong every tenant had a right 
to his proportion, which was set out for him, not by fixing 
any superficial quantity, but by measuring along the line of 
the tenantry road of each furlong a certain number of feet 
to each paul, the number of feet being the same, whatever 
was the depth of the furlong; thus, if the furlong, for 
instance, consisted of what is called a hatchet-piece, some- 
thing like three-quarters of a square, the part where the 
piece was two squares deep would contain double the 
superficial contents of the portion at the other end, where 
the measurement next the road would be similar but the 
depth only one half." Sussex Glossary, p. 65. 

TEND. To watch. 

"He can't sing in church no more, for he goos to work 
rook-tending, and he comes home of nights that hoarse that 
you can't hardly hear him speak." 

TERRIBLE. Excessively. (Pronounced tarrible, as below). 

TERRIER. \Terre, French, land.] A survey and register of land. 
Two terriers were made at Brighton in the last century; the 
first in 1738, the second in 1792, by Thomas Budgen. 

TERRIFY. (Usually pronounced tarrify.) To tease; to annoy. 
"These here fleas tarrifies me tarrible." 

TESSY, w. Angry. [Probably a corruption of Testy.] 
THAT. So. 

" I was that tired I didn't know how to bear myself." 

THICK-OF-HEARING, e. Slightly deaf. 

"Old woman, old woman, will you go a shearing? 
Speak a little louder, sir, I'm rather thick of hearing. 
Old woman, old woman, shall I kiss you very sweetly ? 
I thank you very kindly, sir, I hear you quite completely." 

Old Sussex Rhyme, 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 121 

THICK-MILK, m. Hot milk thickened by the addition of a few 
spoonfuls of flour and sweetened. 

THILLS, w. \Thil, Ang, Sax., a plank.] The shafts of a wagon 

or cart. 
THILL-HORSE, w; or THILLER. The shaft horse. 

" What a beard thou hast got. Thou hast got more hah" on thy chin 
than Dobbin my thill-horse has on his tail." 

Merchant of Venice, Act ii. sc. 2. 

THREADDLE. To thread a needle. 

"Open the gates as wide as wide, 
And let King George go through with his bride. 
It is so dark, we cannot see 
To threaddle the tailor's needle." 

Children's Game. 

THRO. Fro. To-and-thro is always used for to-and-fro. 

"He goes to-and-thro to Lewes every Tuesday and 

THROT, m. The throat. 

THROW. [Through.] A thoroughfare ; a public way. The four- 
throws is a point where four roads meet. 

THROW. To cut down trees. 

TICKLER, e. An iron pin used by brewers to take a bung out of 
a cask. 

TICKLE-PLOUGH, w. A plough with wooden beam and handles. 
TIDY, m. A child's pinafore. 
TIFFY. Touchy; irritable. 

TIGHT. Drunk. 

Either Sussex beer must be very strong or Sussex heads 
very weak, for however drunk a man may have been he will 
declare that he did not take more than a pint, and all his 
friends will make the same assertion. 

TIGHTISH. Well in health. 

"I'm pretty tightish thank you" is not a very common 
expression, because it is not considered genteel to be in 
perfectly good health ; and to say " How well you are looking" 
is by no means taken as a compliment. I suspect that the 
height of gentility is not reached till a person dies outright, 
and then of course it is only reflective, and the relations 
take credit for it. 

TIGHT-UP. To clean ; to put in order. 

"To tight oneself up" is to dress or put on clean clothes. 

122 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

TILTH, m. {Tilth, Ang. Sax., culture.] The condition of arable 

" He's a man as always keeps his ground in good tilth." 
TILLOW, w. (See Teller.) 

TIME OF DAY, m. "To pass the time of day" is to greet a 
person passing on the road. 

"I doant know any more of him than just to pass the time 
o' day." 
TIMMERSOME, e. Timid. 

A boy, who recently stated as a valid reason for not 
attending evening school that he was afraid that the 
pharisees would interrupt him on his way home, was excused 
by his mother on the ground that he was "that timmersome 
that he couldn't abear to go out after dark." 

TINKER, w. To mend anything clumsily. 
TIPPED, m. Pointed. 

TIP-TEERERS, w. Mummers who go round performing a sort of 
short play at Christmas time. (See appendix.) 

TIP-TONGUED. To talk tip-tongued is to talk in an affected 

"She talks so tip-tongued and gives herself such airs." 

TIRE. Flax for spinning. (Probably obsolete, but frequently 
found in old parochial accounts). 

TISSICK, m. A tickling, faint cough. 

"Punch cures the gout, the cholic and the phthisic, 
And it is agreed to be the very best of physic." 

Old Song. 

TIVER, w. Red ochre used for marking sheep. 

TO-AND-AGIN, m. Backwards and forwards. 
"She doddles to-and-agin." 

TOKEN, e. A present. 

"My lad's brought me such a nice token from Rye." 

TOKEN, m. An apparition. 

A woman who had asked me to write to the War Office 
for tidings of her son, whose regiment was in India, came 
to me a few days afterwards to say that she was sorry she 
had given me so much trouble, as it was no use to make any 
enquiries about her son for he was dead, and she knew it 
because she had seen his token, which had walked across 
the field before her and finally disappeared over the stile. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 123 

It was useless to reason with the woman, or to attempt to 
comfort her by reading her the reply from the War Office 
that her son was well. It was not till he returned home and 
in his own person refuted the evidence of the token that her 
confidence in it was at all shaken. 

TOM. Any cock bird, as a torn-turkey or a torn-parrot. 

" I bought two hens and a torn off old Mis Cluckleford, 
but I doant know as I shall make out much with 'em, for 
they doant seem none of 'em inclined to lay." 

TOM-BACCA. Traveller's joy. Clematis vitalba; also called boys' - 
bacca, because the boys cut the small wood in pieces to 
smoke like cigars. 

TOMMY, m. Bread. 

TONGUES, e. Small soles ; probably so called from their shape. 

TOOK-TO, e. Ashamed; vexed. 

" I was quite took-to when you come in, for I hadn't had 
time to tight-up all day." 

Top-OF-THE-HousE. A person who has lost his temper is said 
to be up-a-top-of-the-house. 

"If you says anything to him he's up-a-top-of-the-house 
drackly minut." 

TORE-GRASS, m. [Also spelt toar-grass.] Tare-grass. The 
long old grass which remains in pasture during the winter. 

TO-RIGHTS, m. Completely; perfectly. 

"I had my little boy into Lewes to get his likeness taken 
a Saddaday, and the man took him to-rights, and you'll say 
so when you sees it." 

Toss, e. The mow, or bay of a barn into which the corn is put 
to be thrashed. 

TOT, m. A bush; a tuft of grass. 

"There warn't any grass at all when we fust come here; 
naun but a passel o' gurt old tots and tussicks. You see 
there was one of these here new-fashioned men had had the 
farm, and he'd properly starved the land and the labourers, 
and the cattle and everything, without it was hisself." 

TOT, e. A brood of chicken; a covey of partridges. 

T'oxHER-DAY. If pronounced t'otherdy, means the day before 

This expression is correct, because in Early English other 
invariably means second, and the day before yesterday is 
the second day reckoning backwards. It is remarkable that 

124 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

second is the only ordinal number of French derivation; 
before the thirteenth century it was unknown, and other 

was used instead of it. 

Archceologia Cantiana, vol. ix. (Pegge's Kenticisms.) . 

TOTTY-LAND, e. \Totian, Ang. Sax., to elevate.] High-land, 
frequently on a side hill ; used at Hastings. 

TOVET, e. [Two fats ; a fat, or vat, is a peck.] A measure of 
half-a-bushel. (See Tavort.) 

TO-YEAR, w. This year, as to-day is this day. 
TRACK. A pathway across a field. 

TRADE. Anything to carry ; such as a bag, a dinner basket, tools 
or shop-goods. 

"He's a man as has always got such a lot of trade along 
with him." 

TRADE, e. Household goods ; lumber. 
TRADES. {Treads ^\ The ruts in a road. 

" You will never get your carriage down that laine, for it 
can't take the trades," i.e., it cannot run in the ruts. 

TRAIN, m. To boil down fat for lard. 
TRAMP, e. Gin and water. 

TRAPE. To trail ; to drag along the ground. 
" Her gown trapes along the floor." 

TRAPES-ABOUT. To run about in an untidy, slovenly manner ; 
to allow the dress to trail on the ground. 

A Sussex maid describing to another servant how her 
mistress went to Court, said, "And as soon as ever they sees 
the Queen they lets their dress-tails trapes, because it aint 
manners to hold 'em up." 

TRAVERSE, or TRAVASE. The place adjoining a blacksmith's 
shop where horses are shod. 

Mr. Turner had an adventure in a traverse, which he thus 
records in his diary: "1758. Sept. 27. In the morn my 
brother and self set out for Eastbourne. We dined on a 
shoulder of lamb, roasted, with onion sauce my family at 
home dining on a sheep's head, lights, &c., boiled. We 
came home about 10 p.m., but not sober. Being very 
drunk, my horse took the wrong way, and ran into a travase 
with me and beat me off." 

From this it would appear as if Mr. Turner had enter- 
tained his horse as liberally as himself ! 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 125 

TREFT, w. A trivet. 

TRENCHER. \Trancher, French, to cut off.] A wooden plate 
on which to cut up meat or bread. 

TRENCHERMAN, m. A feeder. 

A good trencherman is a hearty eater. 
" He's a very valiant trencherman, he hath an excellent stomach." 
Much Ado About Nothing, Act i. sc. I. 

TRESSLES. The dung of sheep or rabbits. 

TRIG, w. To place anything behind a wheel to prevent a carriage 
from slipping back on a hill. 

TRIPET, w. A wicket gate. 

TRUCK. Rubbish ; odds and ends. 

"There's too much truck about the floor for the house 
ever to look tidy." 

TRUG. \Trog, Ang. Sax., trough.] A strong basket made of 
split wood, used for gardening. 

TRULL. [Corruption of Trundle.] To bowl a hoop. 

TRUNDLE-BED, w. A low bed on small castors, trundled under 
another in the day time. 

TRUNK, e. To under-drain land. 

TRUSSING-BEDSTEAD, w. [Truss, Old English, to pack up.] A 
camp bedstead which can be packed for travelling. 

TRUT. A hassock or footstool. 
TUCK. A pinafore worn by children. 

TUCK-APRON, m. A long apron which is fastened round the 
neck and waist. 

TUCK-SHELL.* A tusk. 

TUG. A carriage for conveying timber. 

TUGS. Iron chains which fit into the hames and shafts. 

TUMBLE-DOWN GATE, m. A gate on a towing-path so constructed 
that horses may pass over it while one end is pressed down. 
It recovers its position through being weighted at the 
opposite point. 

TUNNELL, w. A funnel. 

TURMUT, m. [Corruption of Turnip.] 

"'Twas the worst year ever I knowed for a job of turmut- 
hoeing, for there warn't no turmuts for anyone to hoe." 
i 3 

126 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

TURN-WRIST PLOUGH. [Pronounced turn-rice, and sometimes 
so spelt in inventories.] A plough with a moveable mould- 
board, which turns up the second furrow on to the first. 

TUSHES, m. Tusks; long teeth. 

" O, be advised ! thou know'st not what it is 
With javelins point a churlish swine to gore, 
Whose tushes never sheathed he whetteth still, 
Like to a mortal butcher, bent to kill." 

Shakespeare. Venus and Adonis. 

TUSSICK, m. A tuft of rank grass. 

TWEEN-STICKS, w. Sticks which are used to keep horses' heads 
apart when working two abreast. 

TWELVE-MONTHING. A yearling calf. 

TWIT. To taunt; to tease. 

"And twit with cowardice a man half -dead." 

Henry VI., Act iii. sc. 2. 

TWITTEN, w. A narrow path between two walls or hedges. 
Two, e. To be at two is to quarrel. 

TWORT, e. [For thwart, a corruption of the Ang. Sax. thweor, 
perverse; froward.] Pert and saucy. 

"She's terrible twort she wants a good setting down she 
do; and she'll get it too. Wait till my master comes in!" 

TYE, m. A common; a large open field. 


UNACCOUNTABLE'. A very favourite adjective which does duty on 
all occasions in Sussex. A countryman will scarcely speak 
three sentences without dragging in this word. 

A friend of mine who had been remonstrating with one 
of his parishioners for abusing the parish clerk beyond the 
bounds of neighbourly expression, received the following 
answer: "You be quite right, sir; you be quite right. I'd 
no ought to have said what I did, but I doant mind telling 
you to your head what I've said a-many times behind your 
back We've got a good shepherd, I says, an axcellent 
shepherd, but he's got an unaccountable bad dog!" 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 127 


"All I can say is, if he comes here, it's quite unbeknownst 
to me." 

UNDERBACK. A large open vessel in a brewhouse, which is 
placed under the mash-tun. 

UNFORBIDDEN, e. [&nforboden,Ang. Sax. .undaunted.] Daring; 

UNKED. \_Uncwyde, Ang. Sax., solitary.] Lonely; dreary; 

UNKED. Having the appearance of evil ; betokening bad weather. 
UNLUCKY. Always in mischief. 

UP. To get up. 

"Soonsever he comes in at the fore-door his missus she 
ups and pulls his hair." 

UP-A-TOP-OF-THE-HOUSE. In a rage. 

"He's so hot headed, he's up-a-top-of-the-house in a 

UPPISH. Pettish; out of temper; easily provoked. 
UPSET. To find fault ; to interfere with ; to attack. 

UPSTANDING. Upright; honourable. 

"They're such an upstanding, downsitting family, you 
wont find their match, search England through." 

USAGE, w. Provisions given to workmen besides their wages, 
.called also 'lowance (allowance). 


VAIL. A present given to a servant over and above wages (like 
the French pourboire). The word is contracted from avail, 
and originally meant an advantage. 

" Welcome shall they be ; 
And all the honours, that can fly from us, 
Shall on them settle ; you know your places well ; 
When better fall, for your avails they fell." 

All's Well that Ends Well, Act iii. sc. I. 

128 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

VALIANT, w. \Vaillant, French.] Stout; well-built. 

"What did you think of my friend who preached last 
Sunday, Master Piper?" 

"Ha! he was a valiant man; he just did stand over the 
pulpit! Why you be'ant nothing at all to him! See what 
a noble paunch he had! " 

VALLERS. Fallows. Spelt vallowes in Humphrey's inventory, 

VENT, e. A place where several roads meet, generally pronounced 

went. (See Went.) 

VERT. \Vert, French.] Green. Still retained in the names of 
fields, as The Lower Vert Field, at Selmeston. 

VIVERS. \_Viviers, French.] Fish-ponds. 
VLICK, w. To smooth the hair. 

VLOTHERED, e. Agitated ; flustered. 

"I was so vlothered I did'nt know what to be at." 

VOLLER, or VOLLOW, m. A fallow field. 

VOOR, m. A furrow. Contracted as barr for barrow. 


WANT, w. An abbreviation of warrant. 

"He wunt give ye naun I want ye." 

WANTY, w. [ Wamb-tige, Ang. Sax., a belly band.] The girth 
which is fastened to the thills of a cart, and, passing under 
the horse's belly, prevents the cart from tilting back. 

WAPS. [ Wteps, Ang. Sax.] A wasp. (Pronounced Wops.) 
WAPS-HYME, w. A wasp's nest. 
WAPSEY, m. Spiteful ; waspish. 

"These bees of yours are terr'ble wapsey." 
WARP. A piece of land consisting of ten, twelve, or more 

ridges, on each side of which a furrow is left to carry off 

the water. 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect, 129 

WARP, e. Four herrings. 
WASE.* A small bundle of straw. 
WATER-CO WEL, w. A large wooden tub. 

WATER-TABLE. A low part on the side of a road, or a small 
cutting across a hill-road to carry off the water. 

WATTLE. [ Watel, Ang. Sax.] A hurdle. 

WEALD. [ Weald, Ang. Sax., a forest.] 

The name given in Sussex to the large woodland tract of 
country which extends from the Downs, with which it runs 
parallel to the Surrey Hills. It was formerly an immense 
forest, called by the Britons Coit-Andred, and by the Saxons 
Andredes-weald. Durrani Cooper. 

WEAN-GATE. [ Ween gedt, Ang. Sax.] A wagon gate. 
WEAN-HOUSE. [Pronounced Wenhus.] A wagon shed. 
WEAN-YEAR-BEAST, w. A calf weaned during the current year. 
WEEZE, e. [ Wees, Ang. Sax., water.] To ooze. 

WENT, e. A crossway. 

"Just as gate (from the verb go) means a street in Old 
English, so went (from the verb wend) means a lane or 
passage." Pegge's Alphabet of Kenticisms. 

WEST-COUNTRY-PARSON, e. The hake, so called from the black 
streak on the back, and abundance of the fish along the 
western coast. 

WET. To wet the tea, is to make tea. To wet the bread, is to 
mix the water in the flour. 

WHAPPLE-GATE. A gate on a whapple-way. 
WHAPPLE-WAY. A bridle way through fields or woods. 

WHEELS, m. A hand cart. 

"I can get my wheels through the whapple-gate, and that 
often saves me a journey fetching wood." 

WHIFFLE, m. To come in gusts. 

" I see there had been just rain enough to whiffle round 
the spire whiles we was in church." 

WHILES. Whilst. As amonges has been corrupted to amongst, 
so whiles is the original and correct form of whilst. 

WHILK, e. To howl like a dog. 
WHILK, e. To mutter to oneself. 

1 30 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialed. 

WHIST, m. Silent. 

"Bide whist! I hears un!!" 

WHITE-HERRING. A fresh herring, as distinguished from a dried 
one, which is called a red-herring. 

WHITTLE. \_Hwitel, Ang. Sax., a white mantle.] A mantle of 
coarse stuff formerly worn by country women. 

WILD. The Weald of Sussex is always spoken of as The Wild 
by the people who live in the Downs, who by the same rule 
call the inhabitants of the wealden district "the wild 

WILL-LED, e. Led away or bewildered by false appearances, as 
a person would be who followed the Will o'Wisp. 

WIDE-OF. Out of the direct road, but not far off. 

"Stone is a little wide of Rye." 
WIDOWS-BENCH. (See Bench.) 

"And that if any tenant having any land either fforrep or 
board die seized, his widow after his death sho'd have the 
said lands which were her said husbands at the time of his 
death by the custom of the said manor as by her bench 
dureing her natural life, altho she marry afterward to 
another husband." Bosham Manor Customs. 

WIM. To winnow corn. 

WINDROW, m. Sheaves of corn set up in a row one against the 
other ; a thin row of new mown grass raked up lightly so 
as to allow the wind to pass freely through it and dry it. 

WINDROW. To put hay into windrows. 

WINDSHAKEN, e. Thin; puny; weak. 

"He's a poor windshaken creetur." 

WINT, e. \Windan, Ang. Sax., to turn.] Two ridges of ground 
which are ploughed by going to one end of the field and 
back again. Arable land which is harrowed twice over is 
said to be harrowed a wint (or a turn) ; if three times, a 
wint and a half. 

WINNOWING-FAG, w. A rough machine for winnowing. 

WINTERPICKS. Blackthorn berries. 


"When you sees so many of these here winterpicks 
about, you may be pretty sure t'will be middlin' winter- 

A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect, 131 

WIPPANCE, w. The bar on which the traces of a horse are 
hooked, and by which he draws his load. Also called 
whippel tree, or whipple tree. 

WIPPEN. Same as wippance. 

WISH. [Wky<r, Ang. Sax., a washing.] A damp meadow; a 
marsh, or low land in a nook formed by the bend of a 
river or stream, and liable to be flooded. 

WITHY. The willow. Salix, various species. 

WRATCH, or RATCH, e. [Hroecan, Ang. Sax., to reach ; extend 
to.] To stretch. 

WRIST, or RISE. The moveable wing of a turn-wrist plough. 
WROCKLED, e. Wrinkled. 
WUTS. [Corruption of Oats.] 


YAFFLE, e. The green woodpecker. 

YANGER, e. [Corruption of Yonder.] 

"I see an old yaffle in de 'ood yanger." 

YAPE, e. To gossip. 
YAR. Aghast; frightened. 

YARBS, w. Herbs. 

An old man in East Sussex said that many people set 
much store by the doctors, but for his part, he was one for 
the yarbs, and Paul Podgam was what he went by. It was 
not for some time that it was discovered that by Paul 
Podgam he meant the polypodium fern. 

YEASTY, m. [Ang. Sax.,j/j/, a storm.] Gusty; stormy. 

"A little rain would do us good, but we doant want it too 
oudacious yeasty." 

"Though the yesty waves 
Confound and swallow navigation up." 

Macbeth, Act iv. sc. r. 
YAT, m. A gate. 

132 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

YEILD-IT, e. Give up. 

A fanner took his team to harrow a piece of wheat, but 
finding it too wet he said to his carter "Come along home, 
we'll yeild it." 

YETNER. \_Git nd, Ang. Sax., not as yet.] Not nearly. The 
reduplication of the negative is very common in Sussex. 
"I be'ant farty year old yetner." 

YOE, m. [Corruption of Ewe.] From the Ang. Sax., eowu. 
YOYSTER, m. To play about roughly and noisily. 


While my Dictionary was in the press, I received the following words from the Rev. A. F. 
Kirkpatrick, Trinity College, Cambridge, and Edgar Sharpe, Esq., Carshalton. They 
came too late to be placed in their alphabetical order, but were too interesting to be 

ABILITY. A word occuring in old account books for an assess- 
ment rate, now probably obsolete. 

ASH-CLOTH, m. Before the use of soda was understood, the 
washerwomen used to soften the water by straining it 
through a coarse cloth, which was fastened over the top of 
the wash tub and first covered with marsh-mallow leaves, 
and then with a layer of wood ashes. 

BAIL, w. The handle of a bucket, pail or kettle. 
BATS. Logs of wood for burning. 
BILLUS, w. To beat; to flog. 
BLACK-GRASS, e. Alopecurus agrestis. 

BLOBTONGUE, w. \_Blabbre, Danish, to gabble.] A tell-tale. 
(See Blobtit.) 

BLUE-BOTTLE, m. The wild hyacinth. Hyacinthus non scrip/us. 
BODGE, w. A water cask on wheels. (See Budge.) 

BOND. \JBond, Ang. Sax.] A band, as a hay-bond, bonds for 
fastening up the sheaves of corn, &c. 

BOOK. A word used in old parochial accounts for a rate, as " a 
zs. 6d. book produces /"SOQ in Horsted Keynes." 

BREAK. A cultivator used among potatoes and hops. (See 

BROKE, w. A large quantity of timber. 

134 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

BULLOCK-LEAZE. The right of turning one bullock out on a 
common to graze. (Used at Berwick and other places.) 

BURY. A rabbit hole; a hole made by any animal. 
CAFFINCHER, w. The chaffinch. 

CARDIOUS. A mixed cloth made of wool and linen thread. A 
word which frequently occurred in old account books when 
spinning-wheels were in use. 

CARRIERS. Part of a spinning-wheel fitted with wire hooks 
through which the thread passed to the reel. 

CAST. The second swarm from a hive of bees. 
CAULKER-BRIDGE, w. A rough bridge made of logs and fagots. 

CHIP, w. The wooden part of a plough to which the share is 

CHIPPER, w. Lively; cheerful. 

CHURCH-STEEPLE, w. The common agrimony. Agrimonia 

COVE. A lean-to, or low building with a shelving roof. Pigeon- 
cotes are frequently called pigeon-coves in East Sussex. 

CURMUDGEON, w. To mend up old clothes. A curmudgeon 
originally meant a hard-bargainer, a miserly fellow, and 
probably this meaning of the word is connected with mend- 
ing up rags in a miserly manner. 

CUTS, w. The cross-beams on the floor of a wagon. 
DOGGER, w. A support for the shafts of a cart. 
EARS. The irons to which the bail of a bucket is fastened. 
GRANDMOTHER'S-NIGHTCAP. The white campion. L. dioica. 

HATCHET-PIECES. Paul-pieces of land of irregular shape. (See 

HEMPSHARE, or HEMSHARE. Certain lands in the centre of 
Brighton, so named from having been used by persons 
engaged in the fishing trade for growing hemp for rope- 
making. The word is found in the court rolls, 1660. 

HERRING-HANG, e. A place where herrings are hung up to dry; 
also called a dee. 

LEAKWAY. A road dividing one furlong from another in the 
tenantry-acre. (See Tenantry-acre.) 

LILY, m. The field convolvulus. Convolvulus arvensis. 

Addenda. 135 

MERRY-TREE, w. The wild cherry tree. 

MILK-MAIDS, w. Birds-foot trefoil. Lotus corniculatus. 

SHEEP-LEAZE. The right of turning out one sheep to feed on a 

The following words (kindly sent to me by Frederick E. Sawyer, Esq., of Brighton), are from 
the Brighton "Costumal," i$8o; i.<?.,abook of certain customs, chiefly relating to fishing, 
which received Royal confirmation at that date: 

COCKS. \_Kog, Kogge, Danish.] Small boats, from two to six 
tons burden, used in the herring fishery. Their period of 
fishing was called cock-fare, and their nets cock-heaks. 

FARE. [An old English word, probably connected with the 
German fahren, and Dutch vaer.~\ A period during which 
certain kinds of fishing took place; as shotnet-fare, tuck- 
net-fare, cock-fare, &c. 

FLEW. [Flouw, Vlouw, Dutch.] A kind of fishing-net. (A 
flew-net, on land, is a net hung on poles f8r catching wood- 

FLEWERS. Boats of erght to twenty tons burden, used in herring 
fishery. (Probably boats used with the flew-nets.) 

HEAK. Another name for the flew. 

Erredge (History of Brighton) says that in Yorkshire the 
nets used for fishing in the river Ouse are still called heaks. 

Mox. [Ang. Sax., max; Dutch, masche.~] The mesh of a net. 
(Called at Hastings a moak.) 

NORWARD. A peculiar kind of net. 

RANN. A division of a net. Nets are ordered to be "in deep- 
ness two ranns, every rann fifty moxes deep." 

SHOTTERS. Boats of six to twenty-six ton burden, used in the 
mackerel fishery. 

TACHENERS. Youngmenemployedinthefishingboats. (Possibly 
so called from being taken to learn the trade.) 

TUCKERS. Small boats of about three tons burden, used in 
fishing for plaice. 



Dramatis Persona. 



Father Christmas. Here come I, Old Father Christmas. 

Christmas or not, 
I hope Old Father Christmas 
, Will never be forgot. 
Make room, make room here, gallant boys, 

And give us room to rhyn^e ; 
We're come to show activity, 

Upon a Christmas time. 
Acting youth or acting age, 
The like was never acted on this stage ; 
If you don't believe what I now say, 
Enter, St. George, and clear the way ! 

St. George. Here come I, St. George the valiant man, 
With naked sword and spear in hand ; 
Who fought the dragon and brought him to the slaughter, 
And for this won the King of Egypt's daughter. 
What man or mortal dare to stand 
Before me with my sword in hand ? 
I'll slay him and cut him as small as the flies, 
And send him to Jamaica to make mince-pies. 

Turkish Knight. Here come I, a Turkish Knight, 
In Turkish land I learned to fight; 
I'll fight St. George with courage bold, 
And if his blood's hot will make it cold. 

Appendix. 137 

St. George. If thou art a Turkish Knight 

Draw thy sword, and let us fight. 

They fight; the Turk is killed. 

St. George. Ladies and gentlemen, 

You see what I've done, 
I've cut this Turk down, 

Like the evening sun. 
Is there any doctor that can be found, 
To cure this Knight of his deadly wound ? 

Doctor. Here come I, a doctor, 
A ten pound doctor ; 
I've a little bottle in my pocket 
Called hokum, shokum, alicampane. 
I'll touch his nose, eyes, mouth and chin, 
And say, "Rise, dead man," and he'll fight again. 

The Turk, having been carefully examined by the doctor, is 
restored, and immediately indicates his readiness to renew the 

St. George. Here am I, St. George, with shining armour bright, 
I am a famous champion, also a worthy Knight. 
Seven long years in a close cave was kept, 
And out of that into a prison leaped ; 
From out of that into a rock of stones, 
There I laid down my weary bones. 
Many a giant did I subdue, 
And ran a fiery dragon through. . 
I fought the man of Tillowtree, 
And still may gain the victory. 
First I fought in France, 
Then I fought in Spain, 
And now I've come to Selmeston 
To fight the Turk again. 

They fight again, and St. George is again the conqueror. 

St. George. Where is the doctor that can be found, 
To cure the Turk of his deadly wound ? 

Doctor. Hocus, pocus, alicampane, 

Rise Turkish Knight to fight again. 

Ladies and gentlemen, our play is ended, 
Our money-box is recommended ; 
Copper or silver or gold if you can, 
Five or six shillings will do us no harm. 


A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialed. 

At Salisbury the Mummers used to be called John Jacks, and 
there was a fifth performer called John Jack, who was represented 
with a large hump-back, and concluded the play by coming 
forward and saying, 

Here come I, 

Little John Jack, 

With my wife and family at my back, 
Roast beef, plum-pudding, and mince-pie, 
No one loves them better than I ! 

God save the Queen ! 


The following Anglo-Saxon words will be traced in the names 
of almost all the towns and villages in Sussex : 

BECC. A brook. Beck. Bexhill. 

BUR. A cottage; a dwelling. Edburton. 

BURH. A hill; a citadel. Burghersh; Bury; Pulborough. 

BURNE. A stream; a river. Bourne. Eastbourne. 

CEASTER. A camp. (From Lat. castrum.} Chester. Chichester. 

COMB. A valley. (From Welsh cwm.} Combe. Balcombe. 

COTE. A cot. Woodmancote; Coates. 

CROFT. A small enclosed field. Wivelscroft. 

DAL. A valley. Dell; del. Arundel. 

DENU. A valley. Den; dean. Harden; Westdean. 

DUN. A hill; a down. Don. Slindon. 

EA. Water; marshy place. Ea. Selsea; Winchelsea. 

FELD. An open field; pasture; plain. Field. Heathfield. 

FOLDE. Afield. Fold. Slinfold. 

GAT. A gate; or rather, away; street. Gate. Rogate; Easter- 

140 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

GRJEF. A grave ; or a grove. Grove. Boxgrove. 

HAM. A village ; an enclosed place. Ham. Beddingham. 

Hou. A hill. Hoe. Piddinghoe ; Houghton. 

HOLT. A grove. Wigginholt. 

HURST. A wood. Nuthurst. 

IG. An island. Ey. Thorney. 

ING. A meadow. Angmering. 

ING. Used as a patronymic; thus Wilming would signify the 
descendants of Wilm ; whence Wilmington ; Rustington, &c. 

LEAG. A pasture. Ley. Earnley. 

MERE. A pool or lake. Mare; mere. Haremare ; Tangmere. 

MERSC. A marsh. Marsh. Peasmarsh. 

STEDE. A place ; a station. Stead; sted. Eastgrinstead ; 

STOC. A place. Stock; stoke. West Stoke. 

TUN. A close; afield; a dwelling. Ton. Alciston. 

WEORTHIG. A farm ; an estate ; a public way. Worth. Fittle- 

Wic. A dwelling place; a village. Wick. Wick; Terwick. 

WINCEL. A corner. Winchelsea. (See Wincel in Bosworth, 
who gives this example.) 


The following names of families, now residing in the 
county, are derived from or connected with Sussex words which 
will be found in this dictionary: 

AKEHURST. [Ang. Sax., dc, an oak, and hurst, a wood.] 

ASHBURNHAM. [Ang. Sax., (BSC, an ash ; burne, a stream, and 
ham, a dwelling. 

ASHDOWN. jfiEsc, an ash, and dun, a hill. 
ASHENDEN. JEsc, an ash, and denu, a valley. 
BALKHAM. Balca, a ridge, and ham, a dwelling. 

BARTON. Barton, a farm-yard. [Ang. Sax., bere-tun, an enclo- 

BECK. Beck, a brook. [Ang. Sax., becc.~\ 

BENTLEY. Bent, a tuft of grass, and ley (Ang. Sax., leag), a 

BICKLEY. Beck, a brook, and ley, a pasture. 
BINSTEAD. Bin and steddle, a stand. 
BOURNE. A stream. [Ang. Sax., burne.~\ 
BOSTEL. A hill path. (See Borstal.) 
BRACKFIELD. Brake, a fern, and field. 
BROAD. A common. 


142 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

BROOKSHAW. Brook, a water-meadow, and shaw, a wood. 
BURTENSHAW. Barton (bere-tun), a homestead, and shaw, a 


BUTTERWICK. Butter, and wick, marsh-land. 
BYTHAM. (By the ham). Ham, a dwelling. 
CALLOW. {Calo, Ang. Sax., bald.] Smooth. 
COCKINGE. Ing (Ang. Sax.), a son. 

COMBER. Coombe, or Combe (Ang. Sax.), a valley in the downs. 
COMPER. Comp (Ang. Sax.), a valley. 
COPLEY. Cop, a ridge, and ley, a meadow. 
CROCKER. Crock (crocca, Ang. Sax.), an earthen vessel. 
CROFT. Croft (Ang. Sax.), a piece of pasture land near a house. 
CROWHURST. Crow, and hurst, a wood. 
DYKE. Dike (Ang. Sax., die), a ditch. 

ETHERIDGE. Ether (Ang. Sax., ether), a pliant rod, and hedge. 
FELDWICK. Feld, or field, and wick, a town. 
FELSTEAD. J^/*/, or field, and .$/</, a place. 
GILHAM. Gill, a rivulet, and ham, a dwelling. 

GRIST. Gm/, a grinding; a week's allowance of flour for a 

HASLEHURST. Hasel, and Awrj/, a wood. 

HATCH. A gate. In North of England, a heck. 

HAYLEY. Hay, and ley, a meadow. 

HAYWARD. A hedge-warden ; an officer of the lord of the manor. 

HEADLAND. A part of a field. 

HEATHCOTE. Heath, and cote, or cot, a cottage. 

HENTY. Hen, and tye, a common. 

HIDE. \_Hyd, Ang. Sax.] As much land as could be tilled with 
one plough. 

HOCKHAM. [H6h, Ang. Sax., a heel, and ham, a meadow.] 

Sussex Surnames. 143 

HOCKLEY. \H6h and leag, Ang. Sax.] Both these words mean 
a field of a certain shape. (See Hocklands.) 

HOLT. \_Holt, Ang. Sax., a grove.] A small plantation. 
HOLTHOUSE. Holt and house. 


(See Hockham.) 


HUCKWELL. Huck, to knock, or to spread anything about. 

HURST. A wood. 

HYDE. (See Hide.) 

INGS. [Ing, Ang. Sax.] A common pasture. 

KELK. Kilk, or charlock. 

KITTLE. Kiddle, delicate; ticklish. 

LADE. Part of a wagon. 

LANGLEY. Long and ley, a meadow. 

LANGRIDGE. Long and ridge. 

LANGSHAW. Long and shaw, a wood. 

LANGTON. Long and ton, an enclosed place. 


Leag, a meadow. 

LINGHAM. Ling, a heath, and ham, an enclosure. 

LONGBOTTOM. Long, and bottom, a valley in the downs (the long 

LONGHURST. The long wood. 

LONGLEY. The long meadow. (See Langley.) 

MEERES. Mere, a marsh. 

NAPPER. Napery, linen. 

PEART. Lively. 

PECK. An agricultural implement. 

PELLING. Pell, a pool, and ing, a pasture. 

RAVENSCROFT. Raven, and croft, a field. 

144 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

REEVE. An officer of the manor. 
SHAW. A wood. 
STEAD. An enclosed place. 
SOUTHERDEN. The south valley. 

WENHAM. Wen, or wain, a wagon, and ham, an enclosure. The 

WENMAN. The wagon-man. 

WHEATCROFT. The wheat field. 

WOODWARD. An officer of the manor; a wood-warden. 

WYNDHAM. Wynd, a path up a hill, and ham. 


BOURNE. [Burne, Ang. Sax.] A stream. 

Boorne Bourner 

Bourne Michelbourne. 

BROOK. A stream ; a water-meadow. 

Brook Brookshaw 

Brooks Colbrook 

Brookfield Westbrook. 

COMP. A valley. 

Comper Compton. 

COOMBE, or COMBE. A hollow in the downs. 

Combe Farncomb 

Comber Farncombe 

Anscombe Lipscombe 

Balcombe Titcombe 

Dunscombe Whitcombe 

Ellcome Witcomb. 

CROFT. [Ang. Sax.] A small enclosed field near a house. 

Croft Pycroft 

Crofts Ravenscroft 

Horsecroft Tredcroft 

Longcroft Wheatcroft. 

146 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

DEN, or DENE. A valley. 












Rams den 













HAM. (i) A hamlet; (2) 

an enclosed place. 











































Sussex Surnames. 

HURST. [Ang. Sax.] A wood. 

Hurst Luckhurst 

Brinkhurst Medhurst 

Broadhurst Pankhurst 

Crowhurst Staplehurst 

Folkhurst Songhurst 

Haslehurst Ticehurst 

Longhurst Wilmshurst. 

LEY. [Ang. Sax., leag.~\ A pasture land. 

Ley Hoadley 

Bayley Hockley 

Bentley Huntley 

Bletchley Langley 

Burley Lee 

Cawley Leigh 

Copley Longley 

Cowley Lutley 

Crutchley Medley 

Ernley Morley 

Graveley Notley 

Handley Nutley 

Hawley Oakley 

Hayley Pelley 

Helmsley Rapley 

Hemsley Ripley 

Henley Stapley 

Hickley Wheatley. 

SHAW. A small wood on a hill side. 

Shaw Buttonshaw 

Bagshaw Crawshaw 

Brookshaw Henshaw 

Burstenshaw Langshaw 

Burtenshaw Oldershaw. 


A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. 

STEAD. [Ang. Sax.] A place. 

Stead Hempsted 

Felstead Isted 

Grinstead Maxted 

Halstead Foisted 

Halsted Steadman. 

WICK. [Ang. Sax.] A town. 

Wicks Markwick 

Butterwick Padwick 

Chadwick Rudwick 

Feldwick Strudwick 

Gratwick Wickerson 

Hardwick Wickham 

Madgwick Wickenden. 



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: Rev. J. W. C ARTMELL, Christ's College, Cambridge. 

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Publications for 1873: i. Seven Reprinted Glossaries, numbered B. l 
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Books and Prints relating to the County BOUGHT or EXCHANGED. 

Volumes of the Sussex Archaeological Collections always on Sale, and 
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ICibrarits anb $arcds of gooks 


introductory essay on the Fall of the Tower and Spire, by the Rev. R. Willis, M.A., 
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A RAMBLE ON THE COAST OF SUSSEX IN 1782, by Antony Highmore, the 

Author of the "History of the Honourable Artillery Company," &c. The MS. of 
this interesting little brochure only came to light a few weeks ago. Mr. Hindley, the 
Editor, has taken pains to illustrate it with Notes. It is well-printed and illustrated, 
8vo. 35. It should be in the possession of all the Members of the Sussex Archzolo- 
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THE CHURCHES OF SUSSEX, drawn and etched by R. H. Nibbs. Architec- 
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tables, &c., 4to. bds., 8s. 6d. ("pub. 2os.) 1828. 

THE WORTHIES OF SUSSEX. Original Biographies of the celebrated Natives 
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curious information, illustrative of Sussex History and Antiquities, by Mark Antony 
Lower, F.S.A., &c. ; in one large royal 410. volume, with extra plates inserted, appro- 
priate binding, 305. Only a few copies left. 

SUSSEX HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES. The New History of the County of 

Sussex, by M. A. Lower, Esq., M.A., F.S.A. Two handsome volumes for izs. 6d., 
instead of 253. 


2nd edition, with numerous vignettes and many hundred engravings of arms, seals, 
statues, &c., and Genealogical tables, including Memorials of the Shirleys of Wiston, 
West Grinstead, Preston, Chiddingly, Ote Hall, Isfield, &c., and containing many 
interesting facts relative to the Archaeology, &c., of these Sussex Parishes, demy 410. 
cl., as new, $. 33. 

THE NOTORIOUS CHICHESTER SMUGGLERS. A full and genuine History of 

the Inhuman and Unparalleled Murders of Mr. William Galley, a Custom-house 
Officer, and Mr. Daniel Chater.a Shoemaker, by Fourteen Notorious Smugglers, with 
the Trials and Execution of Seven of the Bloody Criminals at Chichester. Illustrated 
with Seven Plates, descriptive of the Barbarous Cruelties. To which is now added 
an Article from the "Sussex Archaeological Collections," by W. D. Cooper, Esq., on 
" Smuggling in Sussex." Neatly half-bound, gilt top, for 2s. 6d., or by post 2s. pd. 



Fragments, relating to West Tarring and the Chapelries of Heene and Durrington, 
with Life of Thomas A'Becket, an account of his palace, and of the rigs he intro- 
duced at West Tarring, and particulars relating to the learned John Selden and his 
cottage at Salvington, with description of Broadwater, Offington, Cissbury, Chank- 
bury (the Sites of famous Camps), Findon, &c., by the Rev. Jonn Wood Warter, 8vo. 
cl., 45. 6d. (pub. at IDS. 6d.) 


4to. hf. mor., scarce, $. 33. 


with numerous extra plates inserted, containing also the Natural History of the 
District, by Dr. Mantell, t vols. sm. 410. hf. mor., t. is. 1824. 

MANTELL'S FOSSILS OF THE SOUTH DOWNS, and of Tilgate Forest, or 

Illustrations of the Geology of Sussex, plans, sections and $2 large plates, comprising 
many hundred fossils, engraved by Mantell, 2 vols., 410. bds., $. 6s., scarce (pub. 
$. i8s., 1822.) Fossils of the South Downs, 410. bds. 355. (pub. at 3. 35.) 


by a local Artist, forming a supplement to Nibbs' Churches. LIST or PLATES: 
CHURCHES Amberley, Angmering and Shipley, East Lavant, Fairlight (Old) and 
Hardham Priory, Fletching, Hardham and Turwick, Hollington and East Marden, 
Houghton, Hove (Old), Lindfield, Lullington, Middleton and Clapham, Pagham, 
Pevensey, Rudgwick, Sidlesham, Uckfield and Durrington, West Dean, Wiggonholt, 
Shermanbury, Westmeston. DOORWAYS Bramber, Shoreham (Old), Shoreham 
(New), Stopham and Hunston. PORCHES Waldron and Rustington. FONTS Bur- 
wash, Pycombe, Worth, Iford, Eartham, St. Anne's (Lewes), Shoreham (New), 
Buxted, Poynings, St. Nicholas (Brighton), Isfield, Clymping, Amberley and Yapton. 
CAPITALS Seaford, Hurstmonceux. EFFIGIES I field, Clayton, Sullington, Horsham. 
WINDOWS Racton, Waldron, Alfriston, Poynings, Lewes Gateway, The Lanes 
(Brighton). 61 plates, on stout crayon paper, sm. fol. and enclosed in a neat 
portfolio, ais. 


ADELAIDE TO LEWES, October 22nd, 1830, 8vo. bds., 2S. (pub. 45.) 1831. 

quities, &c., 121110. cl., is. (ul. (pub. 53.) 1846. 
AMSINCK'S (P.) TUNBRIDGE WELLS and its Neighbourhood, including 

Bridge Castle, Mayfield, Bayham, Scotney, South Park, Buckhurst, Kidbrooke, 
Brambletye and other places in the county of Sussex, illustrated by 43 plates, tine 
impressions, with a coloured plate of Tunbridge Wells, and three pencil drawings of 
"The High Rocks," "The Castle," and "A View near Tunbridge Wells," inserted, 
demy 4to. hf. bd. gilt leaves, 235. (pub. $. 135. 6d.) 


(including Sussex), Wales and Ireland, by Corporations, Merchants, Tradesmen, 
&c., 42 sheets of plates containing several hundred coins, th. 8vo. cl., 8s. 6d. (pub. 
at \. us. 6d.) 1838. 


Hampshire, with glossary of Provincialism, list of the flowering plants, birds, 
lepidoptera, &c., and a general description of the geology, botany, ornithology, arch- 
aeology, &c., of the district, followed by a copious index, fine maps, plans, sections 
and numerous splended illustrations by W. Crane, engraved by Linton, 8vo., green 
cl. gt. elegant, as new, 75. 1867. 

SUSSEX ARCHAEOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS (complete set), illustrating the His- 
tory and Antiquities of the County, published by the Archaeological Society, numerous 
engravings (some coloured), 25 vols. 8vo. cl. very scarce, 14. 145. 

Catalogue of Old Books for One Stamp. 



In the Press, royal flo, for early publication. 
Price, 15s. ; Half Morocco, 21s. 



It will be carefully printed on toned Paper and elegantly bound, and will 
contain nearly 100 pages of illustrations of all the principal objects of interest 
in Sussex, with brief descriptive letter-press opposite each page of engravings, 
and thus, in the shape of an Album, form a valuable and concise epitome 
of Sussex Antiquities. 

xrnls a limiitb nttmbw of Ccrpies toill bt pcintzb, .SaJbsmber* ate 
ixr make .earls application. 

All Communications to be sent to the Editor, Rev. P. DE PUTRON, Rodmell, 

or to the Secretaries of the Lewes School of Science and Art, for the benefit 

of which Institution the work is published. 

Now Ready, with Plan and more than 70 Illustrations, a new edition of 







This Work contains Information greater in amount, and more -varied and 
practical in character, than all the other Local Guide Books put together. 

Sold at EASTBOURNE by nearly all the Booksellers, Stationers, &c. 
London : E. STANFORD, Charing Cross. 


Price 6d. Each. Post Free. 










PE Parish, William Douglas 

2057 A dictionary of the Sussex 

P3 dialect